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Flanner Community Cookbook: A Community Response to Food Apartheid

What we are doing

We seek recipes, stories, and experiences from members of the Flanner Community and surrounding communities to compile into a Flanner Community Cookbook. Our vision for this cookbook is that it will preserve and pass on the intellectual inheritances of our community, creating a material representation of the legacy of our community to be passed down for generations to come.

Why we are doing it

Cleo’s Bodega opened it’s doors to the Flanner Community on June 24th, 2019, offering locally grown fruits and vegetables, pre-packaged salads, smoothies, and coffee. It also offered a place to gather and a place to learn about growing, cooking, and enjoying healthy meals in an area of Indianapolis that has been systematically denied access to healthy and affordable ingredients. Cleo’s is a response to food apartheid a term coined by activist and food advocate, Karen Washington. In an interview with Guernica Magazine, Washington describe food apartheid as taking an intersectional approach by looking at the whole food system, “along with race, geography, faith, and economics.” In doing so we can understand food apartheid for what it is—systematic oppression in the form of limited access to healthy, affordable food sources and educational resources.

Historically, food apartheid has been in place since the time of slavery. Modernly, we can trace food apartheid in the Flanner Community to 1959 when the State Highway Commission and federal Bureau of Public Roads accepted routes for I-70/I-65 loop to cut through the neighborhoods of northwest Indianapolis, displacing 17,000 residents and taking customers away from black-owned business. The last grocery store, Double 8 Foods, closed in 2015.

There are stories that live between then and now—stories that tell of how our community, not only overcame, but thrived. We are collecting these stories, recipes and experiences from members of the Flanner Community and surrounding communities to compile into a Flanner Community Cookbook which celebrates the opening of Cleo’s and the resilience and vibrant food culture of the Near Northwest area which has thrived, regardless of systematic oppression.

What to submit

We want your food story—however it comes, however you wish for it to be told. If you need help getting started, consider these questions for inspiration:

  • Who taught you / How did you learn to cook?
  • Who is your favorite person to cook with?
  • What’s the most important tool/appliance/gadget in your kitchen?
  • What is your most memorable meal?
  • What’s the first dish that you cooked on your own? Was it good?
  • How do you feel about the word “foodie”?
  • Write about your food philosophy
  • Write about your favorite/strongest food memory.
  • If you could only keep one cookbook, which one would it be?

How to submit

There are four ways to submit a contribution to the Community Cookbook.  

1. Schedule an interview by emailing or calling 317-955-6234

2. Mail a submission to Flanner Community Writing Center, 3200 Cold Spring Road, Indianapolis, IN 46222

3. Email a submission to 

4. Visit a consultant at the Flanner Community Writing Center (Mondays & Thursdays from 3-6pm)

What to Submit

Submit a document that notes:

  • The submitter’s name, contact email, and phone number
  • A short bio about who you are, what you love, and why
  • The title for your recipe
  • An ingredients list with measurements (even if they are measured in pinches and tomato sauce cans)
  • Instructions for the recipes
  • A short story about the recipe and why it is important to you
  • Optional: A photo of you, a photo of you preparing the recipe with loved ones, or a photo of the recipe itself

Word or Google documents can be emailed to The subject line of the message should read “Community Cookbook Submission.”

Once you have submitted your proposal you will be contacted by the Flanner Community Writing Center for further instruction.


Questions on prospective topics and approaches for submissions should be sent to

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