IndiGO: Community Natural Dye Garden in the Wake of a Global Pandemic

Praxis has saved seeds from each year’s indigo crop to plant the following year. In 2020, the Workshop invites anyone interested to adopt five plants, grow them in their home garden, and then deliver harvested leaves at the end of the summer in exchange for free workshops in the Fall. Plant pick-up is May 16 -18. Go to for details.

In 2018 Praxis Fiber Workshop leased two parcels from the City Land Bank and turned abandoned soil in North Collinwood into a quarter acre of thriving indigo and marigold plants. In 2019 we doubled the scale and added a second location in South Collinwood, adjacent to the administrative offices of Hospice and CMSD Hannah Gibbons School. The goals:

  • Grow 400 pounds of indigo so we can process the leaves in the traditional Japanese method of composting. Do this in a facility we built behind Praxis: one of only two others like it in the US.
  • Engage over 100 volunteers and community members on-site at our gardens and teach them the troubled history of indigo in our country, as well as the environmental benefits of using natural dye versus the highly toxic synthetic version.

Each year, our partnership with the Cleveland Seed Bank prepares our seeds in a hoop house on the West Side and somewhere around Mother’s Day we gather about fifty volunteers to help plant indigo seedlings over the two garden lots. The collaboration doesn’t end there. Over the course of the summer, we gather another six to twelve times for free on-site workshops and volunteer-based harvesting days. Our Natural Dye project is the way that Praxis connects most deeply with our neighbors. With funding from Gund Foundation, Cleveland Foundation, Cuyahoga Arts and Culture and Fowler Family Foundation, it is the only project at Praxis that is fully grant funded and volunteer based. In a time when it is dangerous to gather and the future of our organization hangs in the balance, can we continue to grow indigo, a project that has developed into the heart and soul of our organization?

The answer is a resounding, fearless, and hopeful YES! Here’s how:

  • Adopt five indigo plants and grow them in your home garden!
  • Praxis, together with indigo garden managers Little & Wells Inc., will safely provide you with everything you need (indigo plants, soil and organic fertilizer) and leave these kits on-site at our Corsica Garden for you to pick up from May 16 to 18.
  • We will post online tutorials on how to care for and harvest your indigo plants throughout the summer.
  • You will give us the harvested leaves at the end of the summer, and in exchange we will offer free indigo workshops in the fall using our own natural indigo.

Help us to make our goal and continue the community impact of this project. For more information and to sign up to adopt indigo, please visit our website

Praxis Fiber Workshop

15301 Waterloo Road

Cleveland, Ohio 44110