Asli Mwaafrika, 16, harvests arugula from our aquaponics system. She is one of KI’s Youth Interns and has worked with KI for 7 years.

Learn more about the Community Controlled Food Initiative

EMPOWERED TO SERVE™ COMPETITION

With close to 130 submissions, from coast-to-coast, Kheprw Institute was selected to compete to win $30,000 in Washington, D.C. at the EMPOWERED to Serve Awards Dinner hosted by the American Heart Association. Watch the competition live on October 17th at 8:00pm EST. Stay tuned for the details!

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History of Social Entrepreneurship at Kheprw Institute

For the last 14 years Kheprw Institute has worked in Indianapolis to empower young social entrepreneurs to start enterprises that meet local needs and address social issues. We see social entrepreneurship as a way to catalyze social transformations beyond the entrepreneurial solution and the initial problem.
  • 2004The Good Stuff Thrift Store
    From 2004 to 2009 Kheprw Institute operated the Good Stuff Thrift Store which provided second-hand and inventory surplus clothing, appliances, furniture and houseware items to community at discounted prices. The store was ran and operated by high school students with mentorship from older entrepreneurs. Over its lifetime the thrift store create jobs for youth and adults and provided an invaluable hands on classroom in leadership, entrepreneurship and teamwork. The cashier of the thrift store was homeschooling herself through high school and utilized her position to apply practical math skills and developed her social skills.
  • 2006KI Paint
    From KI 2006 to 2010 KI operated KI Paint located in a predominantly African American community and provided mis-tint paints to customers for $5 a gallon. This enterprise also served as a classroom for young people to learn how to manage and operate a business as well as work on an intergenerational team. The youth leaders managed all aspects of the business including inventory, marketing, staff management, etc. By providing mistinted paint from distributors this model was able to provide paint at an affordable price to homeowners and helped to keep the paint from entering the waste stream.
  • 2006317 Media Cafe
    From 2006 to 2008 the 317 Media Cafe provided fair trade coffee from Ethiopia to the community along with free internet access and monthly presentations on the importance of fair trade products led by young people. This space was also used to host community conversations, teach chess and stream documentaries. The enterprise was started after KI youth leaders watched a documentary, Black Gold about fair trade coffee farming in Ethiopia. The young people then did research in order to contact the farmer from the documentary and ordered coffee through their local distributor.

The Art of the Start: Community Controlled Food Initiative

Our latest enterprise is the Community Controlled Food Initiative (CCFI) which we launched in response to a wave of grocery stores closing in our neighborhood, further limiting access to healthy food.

CCFI is a food cooperative that buys directly from local and urban farmers and sells to community at wholesale prices. Launched in June 2016, CCFI has bought and sold over 6,000 pounds of produce, serving more than 100 individuals and families, and developing an intergenerational, multi-racial leadership team.

By the end of 2017 we are on track to double our membership to further the impact and economic sustainability of the project.

Expansion and Replication

Kheprw Institute uses community empowerment and social enterprises to build local capacity and leadership. CCFI uses this approach to address a community need for fresh, healthy food, while building relationships and supporting local farmers.

A short-term goal for expanding CCFI in Indianapolis is to increase the frequency and volume of distribution which would allow us to create more economic opportunity to hire cooperative members to run and manage the business along with supporting more urban and local farmers.

Our long-term goal for scaling CCFI is to deepen our impact locally through changing the food culture and food system by empowering a generation of urban farmers, community leaders and entrepreneurs with the skills to address the food access issue and beyond. Another long-term goal is to create tools and a training curriculum that we can teach to communities around the country to help them adapt and implement this innovative and community-centered approach to healthy food access.

Scarabys Consulting is a vehicle to transfer knowledge and skills accumulated by the Kheprw team throughout their history of work to support the creation of similar models in different communities. By addressing the issue of food access holistically, incorporating economic opportunity and community agency this approach stands to have a great impact on communities and food systems around the country and world.

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References Social Entrepreneurship and Societal Transformation: An Exploratory Study Alvord, Sarah H;Brown, L David;Letts, Christine W The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science; Sep 2004; 40, 3; ProQuest pg. 260