Launching Your Career with TGP: Meet WeGardn


Mar 10, 2017

In 2013, Greg, a student studying Environmental Engineering at Drexel University at the time,  joined The GREEN Program for a spring break adventure in Costa Rica. 4 years later (and a few start-up ideas, too), Greg continues to act on the motivation he acquired from his TGP experience. Elated, we are always eager to keep in touch with our GREEN Alumni. In fact, 91% of our global network choses to stay in touch with our TGP community post-program as they transition into their professional careers, and we could not be more delighted that Greg is included amongst this group of student leaders and professionals. 

“It’s humbling and inspiring at the same time. It’s super motivating to learn that our alumni are eager to stay engaged with our community, to assist us in bettering our programs, and to give back to the community by partnering with us to amplify our impacts to help build a community and workforce for the future. This is why we do what we do, it’s bigger than just us, and we need to work collectively to achieve big goals, ” says Brady, our Director of Business Development & Partnerships.

Officially launching this month, Greg is the CoFounder & CIO of WeGardn, a new online marketplace for local, organic produce & food. Their mission is to focus on quality, convenience, & community. In fact, WeGardn will be opening a physical marketplace right here in TGP’s home city, Philadelphia – and WeCannot be more thrilled for him and his organization! 


Read more about Greg, his GREEN Program experience & beyond, and what WeGardn is all about in our Q&A with Greg below: 

cj0xx5v5e0tbtvfi58zrq8uco icon
cj1f12lma179qvfi5b3kqviti 17796375 10155885372618765 693214791499113586 n

Firstly, tell us a bit more about you!

This is a tough question to answer, but I guess I’ll get the ‘boring’ stuff out of the way. I’m currently 23 and grew up in Saratoga Springs, New York. As a kid, I always was (and still am) obsessed with traveling and outdoors activities – snowboarding, hiking, mountain biking, exploring, you know it. As a dual citizen of the USA & Ireland, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel a fair amount growing up. A lot of this was international travel within Europe, but some domestic travel as well. 

So, what’s the love story connecting you to TGP? 

In 2013, I completed a GREEN Program for my Spring Break to Costa Rica. I stumbled upon this trip when looking to take a vacation following the end of my 6-month co-op with an engineering firm as part of my Drexel curriculum. Because I’ve always focused my studies on sustainable fields, I thought this would be a much more meaningful and exciting school break compared to a typical spring vacation. 

Looking back, what are elements of your GREEN adventure that continue to stick with you 3+ years later? Why do you think these memories stay with you today?

My experience with TGP helped to solidify my future as a social entrepreneur. Having the ability to study and experience 5 commercial-scale energy facilities, travel around the country with a diverse group of students and experiencing an amazing culture was one of the best experiences in my life. But, I think the main change which TGP has made in my life has been my constant motivation for new experiences, which is what has led me down this entrepreneurial path. Being an entrepreneur has a lot of similarities when compared to GREEN programs, due to always being in a new educational environment, having to constantly keep an open mind in order to get the most out of every experience and of course just being surrounded by motivated people who want to help uplift you as an entrepreneur and your company as a social enterprise.  

As you know, all GREEN students need to complete a Capstone Project during their time abroad with us. Can you tell us a bit more about this experience for you and what some of the key take-aways were for you? 

cj0xwz4m90tb7vfi5xtpihhc6 65

The Capstone Project that I worked on was designing a streetlight which was powered by solar & wind, and also had an outlet attached so locals citizens could power their handheld electronics with any excess generated energy. This was meant to be a non-profit which could help to impact the lives of local communities by lighting up streets, public parks, and athletic fields. We worked on this project after returning back to our universities. We received quotes from international manufacturers, planned a GoFundMe approach, and spoke to some industry experts. The project didn’t make it to reality, but this was the first entrepreneurial experience which I had, and I was hooked from the start.

You’ve recently told us that your Capstone Project has influenced you in a number of ways post-program. How has your Capstone and experience influenced you professionally after the program? 

This was the first time in my life where I realized it’s incredibly feasible to make a career out of helping people, helping our environment, and working for myself. Immediately after this venture, I began writing business plan after business plan starting with personal scale water desalination devices, then going to a personal scalable wind turbine company called WindiGo Turbines (which received pretty good national press), and then moving onto micro-grid technologies. Each of these companies had a huge amount of potential but there was a large barrier to entry (money, really) which was hard to move past especially at a pre-revenue seed stage company. After all of these learning experiences, a few engineering corporate jobs & countless hours of research, my newest company WeGardn is just a few weeks from launching. 

cj0xx2h4v07fffhi5dk55t3ik 83

Introducing: WeGardn

 For someone who’s never heard of WeGardn, how would you describe it?  

cj0xxf1b00tc9vfi5d3layyjl wegardn cover

WeGardn is an app-based marketplace which connects consumers (both individuals and restaurants) direct to local food producers. The 3 primary reasons why a user would purchase from WeGardn are quality, cost & convenience. When you (as a consumer) buy from WeGardn, the food is harvested and delivered to your door at your requested time (our initial delivery windows will be 4-10pm M-F, 8am-Noon Sat-Sun) in two hour delivery windows. 

We are using predictive analytics to forecast future food purchases on a micro and macro level, with the hopes of eliminating food waste from our logistics chain, which allows us to not require the same markup in price points when compared to typical grocery stores. Beyond that, within 6 months we will also be able to accept EBT payments which will help bring organic agriculture into communities who currently have very limited access to healthy, local food.

Reducing transportation pollution:
We cut 90% of transportation out of the current food system (150-mile sourcing & delivery radius, when applicable), support the local economy, support the local agriculture industry (we use our data to help food producers expand their operation based on demand) and nutrition.  

You’re in Philadelphia now launching this initative. How did this come into fruition?  

A few months ago, I started researching new industries that were yet to be disrupted, and operating incredibly inefficiently. Agriculture was the industry which stood out the most to me. 

Currently in America, 40% of food is wasted. This waste comes at 4 points; waste at the production point, waste in transportation, waste at the point of sale and waste at the point of the consumption (restaurant or home). On a country-by-country basis, food waste on its own would be the 3rd largest emitter of greenhouse gasses (China, The United States, Global Food Waste). Moreover, today in grocery stores (digital and physical locations) the average distance food travels is 1,500 miles and is handled by 33 people before it makes it to your shelf, which emits massive amounts of carbon into our atmosphere. Grocery stores today buy in massive quantities from farmers who typically do not use healthy farming practices such as rotational farming, limiting pesticides, limiting water waste and more. In fact, today when you buy beef, there’s a good chance this is coming from Brazil, where the Amazon Rainforest is being deforested to make room for beef production, so we’re chopping down trees, raising cattle (which require more energy than their beef produces), emitting millions of tons of methane from this production and then transporting it all over the world. 

Because of all of this, in my opinion, this whole industry to me seemed inefficient, misguided, bad for the planet and bad for us. I needed to do something about it. 

Why did you chose Philadelphia? What are you most excited about being in the city? 

Philadelphia is a natural launching point for WeGardn, being one of the top food cities in America, surrounded by local small-large farms, with a very helpful and exciting entrepreneurial scene and relatively cheap start-up costs when compared to other nearby cities. Philadelphia is also strategically located within a 150-mile radius from NYC, Baltimore and DC, which makes growth to our next markets a very viable near-future opportunity.  

cj0vbsujt0rqjvfi5n5h8adjr screen shot 2017 03 29 at 2 49 31 pm

What’s the next step for WeGardn? What should we expect to see in the next coming months?   

The next immediate step for us is launching in early April. From here we’ll be constantly growing our user base in Philadelphia while improving our logistics and data analytics, growing our team and launching into Washington DC as our next market. 

As your company grows, you will need incredible people to join your team. What is it about GREEN Alumni that makes them attractive as potential WeGardn Team members? 

We want to be a lifelong partner company to The GREEN Program. If we’re hiring for any position, hiring through TGP would allow us to bring on environmentally conscious, social leaders onto our team who have international education and experience who can bring new ideas and practices into our company.  

Read Another Article

Honoring Kate Slattery & Highlighting the Shine On Scholarship for Women’s History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month, The GREEN Program is happy to highlight Kate Slattery – a mechanical engineer and photovoltaic designer for SolarCity who challenged herself and others to work toward a global mission of renewable energy and sustainability. We are honored to work with Kate’s family and GivePower to share Kate’s story and provide the Shine On Scholarship to TGP students in memory of Kate. 

read more

How an Online Sustainability Program Helped Jaedyn Medrano Become an Intersectional Sustainability Advocate

This blog features the virtual Nepal Ethics of Sustainable Development Alum, Jaedyn Medrano who says, “this program taught me how to think about a project holistically, and it has guided me along the path to being a better cultured and inclusive young professional.” She is set to graduate with a double major in Renewable Natural Resources & Ecological Restorations in December of 2022.

read more

Defending Reproductive Rights in the Battle for Climate Justice

Reproductive Justice is Climate Justice. The GREEN Program stands to defend the reproductive rights of all women and people who give birth to access safe reproductive health care. We must do more to educate others and understand the interconnection between Reproductive Justice and the Climate Crisis. It’s important to draw the connections between climate change, pollution, and reproductive rights.

read more

An International Graduate Student Embraces Nepali Culture by Studying Abroad through Shine On Scholarship

On one hand, I believe that every student should be given a chance to study abroad at least once in their life, because it teaches us things that textbooks cannot: adaptability, resilience, curiosity, empathy, just to name a few. Whether good or bad, bursting our bubble and learning about our world will inspire us and open our minds. On the other hand, the people we interact with benefit from the diversity, because all of us bring unique perspectives to the table. Perhaps we share an idea that no one has thought of but could be key to solving a problem; we fuel the aspirations of someone who is facing similar difficulties; or help take down stereotypes.  

read more

Remembering Juneteenth and the Fight for Environmental Justice

n June 19, 1865, Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, TX, and announced the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery. It is on this day every year since that we celebrate “Juneteenth” as the end of slavery in the United States. It is a day that we celebrate ancestors and leaders who fought to be liberated. We celebrate their power, resiliency, and tenacity. 

read more

LGBTQ+ Leaders and Organizations in Sustainability to Know About this Pride Month

The GREEN Program loves to celebrate love, and there is no better way to do that this month than by recognizing a few LGBTQ+ leaders and organizations that are making a difference not just in their own communities but for our planet altogether. Read below to learn more about some people and spaces that are working together to promote a better world that focuses on inclusion and equality.

read more

Meet 8 AAPI Leaders in Sustainability: Across the Globe and At Home

The month of May is known to many as the end of classes and the start of Summer, but May is also known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Our team at TGP wanted to take a moment to recognize the contributions and influence of AAPI Americans throughout history, culture, and achievements both on a global scale, and from those who are a bit close to home. We also encourage you to learn more about AAPI Heritage Month and get involved through additional resources.

read more

From a Start Up to a Sustainability Study Abroad Program: How Patrick Applied his Passion for Renewable Energy in Iceland

When Fall 2021 rolled around and I saw the TGP scholarship opportunity, I thought I’d apply not expecting much. When I found out that I actually got it, I was like “I guess I’m actually doing this!”. I was a little nervous and anxious but also so excited for the opportunity! I was also grateful that the enrollment process was very smooth for me with no significant challenges along the way.

read more

Boston University Student Gains a Unique Perspective for Renewable Energy & Sustainability by Studying Abroad in Iceland

Global experiences have definitely shaped me into the person I am today through increased cultural awareness and sensitivity. Getting to really know a great group of diverse individuals from all over the world has not only shaped my perspective on current world issues, but has also allowed me to take a glance at certain topics from another angle and point of view.

read more

A Construction Science Major Turns Lessons into Opportunity after a Sustainability Study Abroad Program 

AJ Ewing spent his past Winter Break a little bit differently than most students, by studying abroad on our GREEN Nepal program. As a Construction Science major, AJ notes that he was nervous coming into the study abroad program having no prior experience in sustainability or electrical/solar grids, but he was excited and eager to learn. As soon as he arrived, all his nerves were gone as he was welcomed by our team and ready to dive in. Now, he can honestly say that when he thinks of The GREEN Program, he thinks of “family away from home.”

read more

How a Geologist Made His Sustainability Dream in Iceland a Reality through a Study Abroad Scholarship

As someone who is in a field with a limited representation of ethnic minorities, TGP created a neutral ground where there was a range of diversity on different levels. My GREEN Program experience in Iceland wasn’t just about the adventures and cultural immersion, but about the education too. I thoroughly enjoyed the lectures because I saw how passionate the different lecturers were about their work and research which is truly inspiring. As a geologist, learning more about the wonder that is Iceland in Iceland was definitely a dream come true.

read more

Get to Know GREENie: Maryam Aida Tidjani

Maryam Aida Tidjani got to experience a brand new kind of GREEN Program during the hard times the world was facing, a 100% Virtual and Online experience. Initially planning on traveling to Peru in 2021, the global pandemic continued to shift things around and we had to pivot all travel programs to Online experiences.

read more

Subscribe to The GREEN Program newsletter & updates

Skip to content