At the Kheprw Institute, we believe the people who live and reside in grassroots communities must be at the forefront of identifying and implementing solutions to address the challenges they face. Why? Because these are the people most impacted by the issue, they know the challenges, they know their community and their ownership of the solution will determine whether it has long-lasting impact or is short-lived.

While grassroots communities may lack financial resources, they have a wealth of gifts, talents and social capital. For empowered communities, these important resources can and are being used to implement solutions that create the change they want to see. The Community Controlled Food Initiative (CCFI) is a story of community empowerment, of community working to #CreateChange.

In 2015, four Double 8 grocery stores closed on the same day in Indianapolis, IN. All were located in underserved communities. This left those communities without access to fresh affordable produce. In response to this crisis, youth with the Kheprw Institute located in the Mid-North neighborhood of Indianapolis decided to host forums to talk about the issue and consider approaches to addressing it. The conversations led to community people deciding to meet on a consistent basis to come up with a solution. Thus CCFI was born.

What is CCFI? It’s neighbors bringing fresh affordable food to their community! How? By pooling their money, community members purchase fresh produce and eggs from local farmers and urban gardeners. A share cost $20 or $15 (EBT/SNAP purchases or seniors) and equals one bag. Everyone gets the same amount of fresh food in their share. In addition each month on the second Saturday, members can pick up their order, take part in a potluck pitch-in and enjoy a healthy cooking demonstration.

Celebrating one year of operation, CCFI through the resources available and accessible to underserved communities has grown from serving 20 individuals/families per month to 75. This community initiative is now working to double the number of shares purchased, increase the buying frequency from once a month to twice a month and eventually employ one to two people.

For more information about CCFI visit food.kheprw.org. The Kheprw Institute provides technology and media support for CCFI.

On November 28 #GivingTuesday #CreateChange, support our efforts to open an Agri-Culture Learning Lab in the northwest area of Indianapolis where individuals, families and groups can learn about urban garden/farming, healthy cooking and have access to garden plots and a tool lending collective. Make a contribution at kheprw.org.