KI URBAN AGRI-CULTURELearning Lab
GROWING YOUTH LEADERSFood + Health + Enterpreneurship
The Urban Agri-Culture Learning Lab (Agrilab) is an educational center to help sustain urban agriculture in the mid-north/northwest area of Indianapolis, a space where residents can learn to be the leaders of sustainable change. Here youth, young adults and other members of the community will have the space to learn how to grow their own food in different and innovative ways and act as agents of change in creating the community we want to live in.
SUSTAINABLE FOOD ACCESSAbout the Agrilab
The Agrilab is the centerpiece of a larger community project of the Kheprw Institute to expand our food justice initiatives to create a culture of sustainability and growth rooted in community empowerment. The project includes:
KI Urban Agri-Culture Learning Lab: The house we are currently rehabbing will serve as a public space for individuals and groups to learn about and engage in aquaponics, urban gardening and urban farming. Empowering individuals and groups with the knowledge, skills and experience to grow their own food and strengthen/expand their relationships by working together to address a common problem and builds community. This is the foundation for a long-term sustainable solutions to community challenges. In addition, studies have shown that by increasing social capital through social networking leads to long-term sustainability in communities.
Decentralized KI Community Gardens: Three vacant lots that KI is leasing through the City of Indianapolis will be accessible to the residents who are participating in the programs at the KI Agri-Culture Learning Lab to put what they have learned into real life practical applications. We will also be collaborating with local artists to design and integrate art into the gardens on these lots for the community to enjoy as well.
Farming Tool Lending Collective: Establish a tool lending collective in the KI Agri-Culture Learning Lab where members of the community have access to the tools necessary to create their own gardens that might be otherwise inaccessible (tillers, hand-tools, etc).
A Board of Health Approved Kitchen: We will install kitchen equipment for use in our healthy food access programs at the KI Urban Agri-Culture Learning Lab. This will enable us to provide education on how to prepare nutritious meals using produce grown via aquaponics, urban gardening, and urban farming.
Solar Panels: We will install solar panels on the Learning Lab to make the space sustainable and reduce our impact on the environment. We are currently looking to install the solar panels initially to provide 50% of our electricity use and to transition to fully 100% within the next 3 years. The solar panels will allow us to generate some of our own electricity, thereby reducing electrical costs and the burden on the electrical grid.
To build out the space for all of this, we are partnering with New Life Development Ministries, a non-profit prison reentry program. They work with formerly incarcerated individuals who are learning and gaining skills and experience in building construction and home repair. We will also engage our youth and young adults in the renovation process. This will give formerly incarcerated individuals who are returning to the community and local young adults skills in building construction, home repair and exposure to the installation and use of solar panels.