Albert Allen Moore arrived in Indianapolis around 1945 with a plan. Six years before, Flanner House – the African American community service center started in 1903 – recommitted itself to “helping people help themselves.” Newly hired as the agricultural director, Moore brought his extensive training as an agricultural educator to grow Flanner House’s food program. Under his tutelage, the organization created a unified food solution for the people it served. Within three years, the community was tending to 600 community garden plots, training members to can produce, and selling staples at a co-op grocery store.
Seventy-three years later, Flanner House is bringing back its food training program to create more equitable food access to the largest food desert in Indianapolis. Through the Flanner Farm, the organization is employing, educating and distributing local produce on its 2-acre farm. The program throws back to Albert Moore’s vision, creating a food hub and training program for the city’s northwest side. As part of this initiative, IHS teamed up with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful to help create the Flanner House Orchard at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. and 24th streets.
For each of the last five years, IHS has partnered with KIB to assist with an IPL Pocket GreenSpace project. These GreenSpace projects transform vacant lots and underutilized spaces into vibrant, functional, natural parks through collaborations with neighborhood groups, community members and cultural organizations. We have the privilege to lend expertise and help groups tell their story and execute their vision, from research and design to fabrication and installation. These neighborhood-led projects become gathering spaces – places that reflect the community’s vision and culture.
Flanner House Orchard was one of these projects. Along with KIB, IHS teamed up with Groundwork Indy, Mader Design and Urban Patch to integrate Flanner House’s story into the GreenSpace. Complete with a plethora of fruit trees, raised beds, a playscape and learning space, the orchard includes four 6-foot panels outlining the organization’s agricultural history and Moore’s impact.
All these elements are designed in the shape of an Adinkra symbol, the ancient language of the Asante people of West Africa – encouraging a spirit of cooperation and interdependence that has shaped Flanner House over its history. The Flanner House Orchard continues in the organization’s tradition of feeding and educating its community.