The founding members Rebel Gardeners were students in an 8th grade science class at Pepper Middle School in Southwest Philadelphia and undergraduates in an Academically Based Community Service class at the University of Pennsylvania. Together these young people went on a field trip to a nearby community garden (the Eastwick Community Garden), which at the time was in danger of being paved into a parking lot. After meeting the senior gardeners and learning from them, the students became archivists and advocates, simultaneously documenting the gardeners stories while writing letters to key stakeholders. The students- calling themselves the Rebel Gardeners- also built a garden at Pepper, with the purpose of spreading the knowledge from Eastwick to the entire Pepper community.

Since our formation in 2010 at Pepper Middle School, the Rebel Gardeners have built and maintained the Pepper Pride Garden (with an orchard and 20 raised beds), maintained a plot at the nearby Eastwick Community Garden (largest in Philadelphia), created a healthy snack product (the Rebel Bar), grown mushrooms in a classroom, cooked and served salads to their classmates, and published a monthly healthy newsletter.

The Rebel Gardeners formed through a collaboration between Pepper Middle School, the Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative (AUNI), a program of Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships, and the School District of Philadelphia (SDP). The SCRG is part of EAT.RIGHT.NOW, the SDP’s comprehensive nutrition education program.

In June 2013 Pepper Middle School closed. This website documents the work accomplished by the Rebel Gardeners while the school was open, and is designed to facilitate similar projects starting at schools.

The Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative (AUNI) is a university-community partnership that engages K-16+ learners in an active, real-world problem-solving curriculum that strives to improve community nutrition and wellness.

Funded by the PA Department of Public Welfare (DPW) through the PA Nutrition Education Tracks, as part of USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). To find out how SNAP can help you buy healthy foods, contact DPW’s toll-free Helpline at 800-692-7462 or 215-430-0556. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.