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Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative (AUNI)



The Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative (AUNI) is a component of the University-Assisted Community Schools (UACS) program of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania.  AUNI developed from an ABCS course taught by Francis Johnston, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology.  AUNI’s mission is to educate, engage and empower youth, university students and the community to promote healthy lifestyles and build a just and sustainable food system.


AUNI engages Penn faculty, staff and students through nutrition, health, and food-related Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) courses. ABCS integrates service with research, teaching, and learning.  ABCS courses involve hands-on, real-world problem solving and help students become active, participating citizens of a democratic society.  Penn students are also engaged through academic internships and fellowships, federal community service work-study, and volunteer opportunities.  

AUNI’s core programs include:


Food Education Program

AUNI’s Food Education Program partners with K-12 teachers to teach food education lessons, leads after school K-12 clubs (such as school garden, fruit stand, farm stand, and cooking crew programs), and creates school-wide food tasting and nutrition education events. More than 10,000 students in 21 schools participate in these hands-on, engaging lessons.


High School Internship Program

AUNI's High School Internship Program employs over 100 youth each year. Youth are hired to work on garden crews or cooking crews.   Garden crews grow and sell fresh produce and educate the community  about the benefits of eating locally grown, chemical-free foods. Youth in the cooking crews lead hands-on nutrition workshops  to teach AUNI’s healthy habits and easy, accessible,  delicious  recipes. In 2014-2015, AUNI high school interns led over 60 cooking classes and grew over 10,000 lbs. of food.


Adult Senior Nutrition Program

The Adult Senior Nutrition Program (ASNP) provides adult participants, including parents and caregivers, with the opportunity to learn and practice practical nutrition skills, as well as become aware of local food distribution programs, farmer’s market incentives and SNAP benefits. The ASNP program is facilitated at several sites in the West and South West Philadelphia area including community health centers, churches, senior centers, and parent programs in our partner schools.   


Community Farm and Food Resource Center

The Community Farm and Food Resource Center (CFFRC) broke ground in the fall of 2011 as a joint initiative with historic Bartram's  Garden, the Pennsylvania Horticultural  Society (PHS), and the City of Philadelphia's Department of Parks and Recreation.  As part of AUNI's High School Internship Program, AUNI teen interns are involved in all aspects of running the farm and community garden, including: crop planning, supporting community gardeners, teaching workshops, managing the farm stand, and growing, harvesting and selling produce.  The CFFRC team hosts weekly farm stands, community garden educational classes, Grow it Yourself (GIY) Workshop series, winter cooking outreaches with the Philadelphia Housing Authority, and an affordable Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.  The CFFRC also hosts over 1,500 volunteers annually from local community.

For more information, please visit the Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative's additional website (, or contact: Dr. Katera Moore, Director of AUNI -

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