Stories from the Garden: Growing Power, Connection in Indianapolis

In a recent article, LaTasha Boyd-Jones named the community-rooted, “multifaceted Kheprw Institute (KI)—a beacon of hope and transformation nestled in the heart of Indianapolis.”

Like life itself, Kheprw’s portfolio of activity, relationship and impact is truly interdimensional, and a compelling example of what our organizations can look like when they structure around a culture and vision rooted in how community members really live, dream, and wish to not only survive but thrive.

One of the dimensions of Kheprw’s work is around food, and creating ways for us to not only access but directly engage with and control our own food production. One arm of the food work that has emerged is the “Growin’ Good in the Hood” community gardening program, led by Miss La’Kiyah Muhammad. As Miss La’Kiyah stated at the beginning of this growing season, “We grow growers.”

I had the great pleasure of participating this and last year in this collective journey, in which I was able to come together once a week – often with my 5 year old daughter – to be immersed in ongoing, rhythmic waves of personal connection and delight while we engaged from all different levels in shared, applied learning around how to grow our own food as well as what it means.

There were also visits to other grassroots, black-led urban farming efforts across Indianapolis and sessions that sprung from the emergent learning and skills that we brought as gardeners, including Sound Healing, a Grief Circle, and a Laughter Yoga Session.









With the growing season concluded and the garden “put to bed” for the winter months, the Kheprw team has now begun to harvest stories of what this experience has meant for individual growers, and the impact it has had on themselves, their families and their communities. Enjoy hearing about the dimensions of growth that occurred for Miss Cassie Piper when she stepped into this rich community space of cooperative production, learning and friendship.


Cassie Piper


For more information about Kheprw Institute, visit and explore the first three links below.

Videography by KI NuMedia.

Photos & illustration by April Doner.


Going Further:

About the Lead Author

April Doner
April Doner is a community connector, artist, and mother who is passionate about igniting the intersection between re-weaving neighbor relationships, strengthening local economies, and healing / reconciling inequities and injustices. She is a Steward at the ABCD Institute DePaul University and, while not practicing neighboring in her own neighborhood, she trains, coaches, and consults in Asset Based Community Development. April also documents local resilience as well as group processes through various creative means including writing, photography, video, and graphic recording. Since 2020, she has curated content for

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