Designing the Rebel SnackGarden

Over the last 3 years  Sarah Rottenberg of Penn’s Integrated Product Design (IPD) program has worked in collaboration with Jarrett Stein of the Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative (AUNI) a food education program of Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships to develop a plate that encourages kids to eat healthy, delicious foods.

The story begins at Huey Elementary School in West Philadelphia, where AUNI piloted the Cooking Crew program, an after-school food education experience where students prepared and served snacks to their peers. The program is competition-based and kids work on teams, so when all’s said and done the eaters (all the kids in the after-school program) were served several small portions of super tasty, super fresh food.

While kids were creating and eating beautiful food, it was served on disposable paper plates. The design of the plates was functional but uninspiring, and generated a ton of waste. To create the best food education experience possible, AUNI forged a partnership with IPD with the goal of producing a reusable plate that allowed for the physical separation but ‘mushability’ of all the food served at Cooking Crew. It also needed to be manufactured for less than $3 per plate.

In the fall of 2013 the second year IPD students were given a ‘design challenge’ to create the plates for Cooking Crew. The IPD students broke into teams and after three weeks the prototypes were presenting to AUNI, and brought to Huey Elementary school for student feedback and testing. While all the designs were beautiful and functional, one stood out among its peers with the students at Huey. It was called the Leaf Plate.

In the spring of 2014 three IPD students formed a team and alongside Sarah and Jarrett applied for funding through Penn Praxis of Penn Design for a community-based social impact design project. The goals of the project were to:

  • manufacture the Leaf Plate for Cooking Crew at Huey and other food education purposes.
  • work with AUNI-incubated high-school run social enterprise to marketing and sell the plates.
  • develop a pipeline for needs assessment and product ideation between elementary school students participating in AUNI programs and IPD/Rebel Ventures team.

The proposal was fully funded. The IPD team focused on refining the design, identifying a manufacturer, and developing workshops to lead for the Rebel Ventures youth on human-centered design and branding.




Apr 02, 2016 | Category: General News | Comments: none