Other Leading Industries
Neighborhood Food Solutions | Madison
A longtime resident of South Madison, Robert Pierce has been growing and selling organic produce from his Half the 40-Acres Farm since the mid-1980s. Pierce has become a leading advocate for organic, sustainable and locally grown food, spearheading several farming initiatives in the Madison area. He managed the Dane County Farmers’ Market from the mid- ‘80s to mid-‘90s and has managed the South Madison Farmers’ Market since 2001.
In 2008, Pierce launched the Program for Entrepreneurial Agricultural Training, which works with low-income and at-risk youth, and in 2015 he established the Farming After Incarceration Release Initiative, which gives formerly incarcerated individuals a chance to participate in urban agriculture. Both programs – managed by Pierce under the umbrella of a nonprofit group called Neighborhood Food Solutions – are focused on educating community members about the economic, social, health and environmental impacts of food.
Education: Madison College
Two business leaders you would like to have dinner with: “George Washington Carver. I would learn a lot of farming and soil information. Stevie Wonder. I feel like we would have a real spiritual connection.”
Hobby/passion: “Fishing, listening to different genres of music, wood working, cooking.”
Book recommendation: “‘Farming While Being Black’ by Leah Penniman. It would give everybody a good understanding of the hardships of the Black community doing what they have done for centuries.”