Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative

The Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative (AUNI) is a major component of the Netter Center's University-Assisted Community Schools program.  AUNI grew out of an Anthropology ABCS course taught by Professor Francis Johnston. While AUNI’s emphasis is on nutrition education and food access in West Philadelphia, it works in a total of 20 Philadelphia public schools, serving more than 10,000 students every month. Hands-on cooking and gardening clubs and youth-run fruit stands connect school day and after school learning activities for K-12 students, as well as connect to the academic work of Penn students and faculty. 


Drew Cooking Club


AUNI has two major program initiatives.


The EAT.RIGHT.NOW program implements the School District of Philadelphia's nutrition education curriculum at 20 public schools. It provides nutrition education workshops and lessons to West Philadelphia students and school staff, parents, and community partners to promote healthy living. AUNI also conducts hands-on cooking and gardening clubs with students after-school to reinforce the content learned during school-day lessons and to give students practical knowledge in cooking and gardening. AUNI’s signature project is the after-school fruit stand, a youth-run health promoting social venture that empowers youth to become agents of change in their community and increase access to fruits, vegetables, and healthy snacks.


The AUNI Youth Development program provides paid internships to more than 60 high school students during the school year and over 100 students during the summer. By teaching healthy cooking classes, tending school gardens, and operating local farmers' markets, AUNI interns increase the access of local, organic, affordable, nutritious, and culturally relevant food; create the tools for self-reliance through food sovereignty; provide a space for all to deepen their relationship to the land, their food and each other; and improve community and school health while building their leadership capacity and developing academic and job-related skills. Additionally, interns involved in AUNI’s Youth Development program play a lead role in advancing youth-led solutions to improving community food systems through participation in multiple regional and national networks and conferences.


Click here for Penn student employment and volunteer opportunities.


For more information, please click here, or contact:

Folasshade Laud-Hammond, Director of AUNI -