Note: This information is offered as a general summary and is subject to change without notification. If you have additional questions, please contact us at info@plantpurecommunities.org

What is the process/timing for a group to apply to participate in the Oasis Jumpstart Program?

PPC’s national Open Invitation for the second round of Pilots, inviting applications from groups across the country, is expected to be announced in late 2017. Groups that would like to receive notifications about Oasis Program opportunities should fill out the Oasis Program form. For those groups that have already secured funding and need minimal assistance, such as program guidance, program forms and structure, or the benefits of being connected to PPC’s 501c3 nonprofit organization, PPC may have flexibility to accept more communities outside the Open Invitation and review process. Those inquiries should be submitted via email to info@plantpurecommunities.org, outlining the community, number of participants, biomarker testing arrangement, the timeline, and the amount and source of funding in hand.  

Recognizing that a goal of the Oasis Program is to meet the needs of the local community, what are the basic requirements and how flexible is the program?

The Oasis Jumpstart Pilot Program is still being refined based on lessons learned in the first round of Pilots. PPC’s Participant Forms must be utilized and submitted to PPC for all registered participants; HIPAA privacy requirements must be followed for biomarker testing; and there are a series of Program guidance documents that give structure to the program. The MOU Template provides an outline of the roles and responsibilities of the local group and PlantPure Communities.

What role might the local Pod play in an Oasis Jumpstart Pilot?

There are a range of roles that the Pod may play in an Oasis Jumpstart. This may include, but is not limited to, any or all of the following:

  • Offer support to Participants during the Jumpstart
  • Offer support to Participants by offering supplemental program support, such as cooking demos, grocery shopping trips, etc.
  • Initiate and lead the Pilot. To date, one Oasis Pilot was initiated by a local Pod, and it was a tremendous success. It is important to note, however, that this requires a significant commitment of time, energy, and resources of the local Pod members. A local benefactor to cover the costs and/or fund raising by the Pod to cover the Pilot costs will also be important.

Are there recommended skills and/or contacts that help situate a local group to successfully carry out an Oasis Pilot?

It is very important that the local program coordinator understands the whole food, plant-based (WFPB) lifestyle. It is also important that the leader of the group is fully committed to the success of the Pilot. Beyond that, any of the following would add to the likelihood of a successful Oasis Pilot:

  • Access to free or low cost biomarker testing.
  • A strong connection with a physician or other healthcare resource person who can offer ongoing guidance during the Pilot.
  • One or more people with plant-based nutrition education, such as the Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies or the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Food For Life program.
  • Local ‘heroes’ who can share their on-the-ground story about their personal journey towards wellness via WFPB nutrition.

Is there any funding or in-kind support from PPC or is the Pilot entirely funded at the local level?

PPC has successfully secured small donations to support the first few rounds of the Oasis Program, and generally can offer a sub-grant of $2,000/Pilot. PPC will also work with the local group to identify and apply for local grants and support other fund raising efforts. In addition, PPC offers the program forms, guidance, and nutrition education materials (also available in Spanish).

Does the Oasis Program work for a Spanish-speaking community?

Yes – many of the Oasis Program forms and educational materials are available in Spanish. In addition, the information-rich website of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies is available in Spanish (as of July 2017). It will be important for the local group to have both English and Spanish speaking capabilities, but the program participants do not need to have that ability.

How does the food work?

The local nonprofit may choose any source of WFPB meals to offer participants and will purchase the food. If the local group chooses to use the WFPB frozen meals or the Kitchen Starter meals offered through PlantPure, Inc., PPC should be able to secure reduced pricing for the Pilot. The cost of the food to the Program participants will depend on i) the need of participants; and ii) funding sources secured to reduce the overall cost of the Pilot. It is worth noting that some Pilots have chosen to purchase and cook the food locally, building in cooking/kitchen responsibilities for each participant. In addition, some Pilots who received subgrants chose to use a portion to reduce the price of the food for participants.

What is the procedure for ordering food from PlantPure, Inc. (PPI) and what are the delivery requirements when ordering their frozen meals?

Beyond negotiating a reduced price for the Oasis food (for the Kitchen Starters and/or a full pallet of the frozen line), PPC is not involved with the food. The local group will deal directly with PlantPure, Inc (PPI) to handle all details related to ordering and shipping the food. If the local group  chooses to purchase the frozen meals from PPI, the reduced pricing is only available when ordering a full pallet (for 30 Oasis participants), and there are special requirements connected to the delivery. While PPI may change their process, the following are the general procedures: When ready to place the order, the local group will coordinate with PPI to arrange an estimated delivery time. Once the shipment is created, PPI should confirm to the local group the estimated time of arrival. In order to avoid incurring additional shipping fees when ordering the pallet of frozen meals, the destination needs to have a loading dock for delivery; and sufficient space to accommodate a 40 foot semi-truck at the time of delivery. If there is not a loading dock, having a forklift available at time of delivery would suffice. Also, the destination will need to have 4’ x 4’ x 4’ of freezer space available to temporarily store these meals until they are distributed to participants.

What are the expenses that the local group should anticipate incurring?

The total cost to carry out a Pilot is in the $5,000 – $30,000 range, depending on the number of participants, whether participants will be required to help pay for some of the costs, the availability of pro bono or reduced price biomarker testing, the costs of the space to hold meetings, the supplemental services offered, and other factors.

What are the mechanics/key documents of the program?

PPC will enter into an MOU and Subgrant Agreement with the local group that will outline roles and responsibilities. In addition, there is a package of Participants Forms, Oasis Program Guidance documents, and Nutrition Education Materials.

How does the biomarker testing work?

A crucial part of the Oasis Program is the empowerment of participants when they see the powerful impacts on their weight, blood pressure, and the evidence of their own blood test. The costs to contract for biomarker testing can add $3,000 or more to a 30-participant Pilot. Ideally, the local group would partner with a local physician, clinic, or other source which can offer free or reduced cost biomarker testing. Depending on the parties involved in the Pilot and the test, Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval may also be involved. (An IRB is a committee used in research that has been formally designated to approve, monitor, and review biomedical and behavioral research involving humans.)

Are there guidelines for who and how many may participate?

There are no requirements, but it appears that 30 participants (plus a waiting list) is the ideal number, especially if the frozen meals are being used; and the biomarker testing is being contracted.

Is there a form of commitment that is required for participation?

Only those groups that have high confidence that there are at least 30 – 40 people interested in participating should apply.

Is there a reason the term "Pilot" is being used in the description of this Program?

The term ‘Pilot’ is being used because the Oasis Program is relatively new and various program parameters are still being tested and refined.

What is the required or optimal length of the Jumpstart portion of the Program and the entire Program with supplemental support services?

Beyond a 10-day Jumpstart minimum, the length and elements that comprise the program are defined by the local organization. Some Pilots have involved a 14-day Jumpstart, while others have implemented a 21-day Jumpstart. At the same time, some Pilots have offered minimal support services during and after the Jumpstart portion of the Pilot; while others have offered fairly intensive opportunities for ongoing learning and support. This is largely a matter of local funding, local pro bono support services, local leadership, the existence and depth of the local Pod, and the community’s need. Strong support will enhance the likelihood of long-term impact.

What kind of educational material is provided to participants during the Jumpstart?

While some of the nutrition education materials are still under development, the key elements all focus on WFPB, no added oil, and low salt and sugar. Please visit the Oasis Resources webpage for the detailed list of materials. The package includes:

  • PCRM’s Nutrition Education Curriculum — The Physicians Committee’s nutrition education curriculum is designed for use in medical offices, worksites, and anywhere people will benefit from learning about the lifesaving effects of healthful eating. The curriculum is comprised of 18 sessions that will help those with concerns about diabetes, weight, cholesterol, or any other condition where nutrition plays a role, understand how a WFPB lifestyle can stop, prevent, and even reverse those conditions. More information regarding the curriculum, including the ability to download it in its entirety, may be be found here.
  • PCRM’s Vegetarian Starter Guide — The Physicians Committee’s Vegetarian Starter Guide is designed to help people understand why and how a transition to a plant-based lifestyle can be done in simple, effective steps. Although the title includes the term, “vegetarian,” it is applicable to vegans.
  • PPC’s Info Sheet: Dining at Restaurants & Fast Food Chains — Provides tips for choosing healthy, plant-based dining options at restaurants and fast food chains.
  • PPC’s Info Sheet: WFPB Diet Explained for the Individual — Explains the differences between Vegan, Vegetarian, and WFPB diets.
  • PPC’s Info Sheet: Breakfast, Snacks, and Meal Tips — Provides ideas for quick and easy options for WFPB breakfasts and snacks, as well as tips for flavoring meals.
  • PPC’s Info Sheet: PlantPure Communities’ Culinary Philosophy — Explains PPC’s culinary philosophy and what it means to be “PlantPure.”
  • PPC’s Info Sheet: Guide to Everyday Plant-Based Substitutions (coming soon!) — Provides a list of plant-based substitutions for non-WFPB items like meat, eggs, dairy, and oils.
  • Educational Materials are also available in Spanish:
    • PCRM’s Vegetarian Starter Guide
    • Guide to Dining Out – “Restaurante Y Fast Food Options”
    • Breakfast, Snacks, and Meal Tips
    • Guide to Everyday Plant-Based Substitutions

Is a medical doctor’s participation a requirement? If so, what is the scope?

While it is certainly valuable to have a medical doctor involved in the Pilot, it is not a requirement. It is, however, necessary to have a Healthcare Resource Person available to offer general information and guidance on nutrition and the biomarker testing process for Oasis Program participants. The main task of the Healthcare Resource Person is to make a speech or presentation at the beginning of the Jumpstart which should include, but not be limited to:

    • Encouraging participants to consult with their own physicians, particularly if they are taking medications for diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure.
    • Making participants aware of the benefits of a whole food, plant-based (WFPB) lifestyle and how it can affect their health very quickly.
    • Offering an explanation of the biomarker data.
    • Providing information on the importance of taking a Vitamin B-12 supplement.
    • Providing referrals to doctors who understand the benefits of a WFPB lifestyle for those who do not have a physician.
    • Letting participants know how they can become a patient/client if the Healthcare Resource Person is open to new patients/clients.
    • Answering questions the participants may have.

Commitment: What assurance is there that a participant will be compliant for the duration of the Jumpstart and the Pilot? What are Pilots doing to support participants between weekly sessions

This is a central challenge. The underlying premise is that people will feel empowered once they experience first-hand the improved health from a WFPB diet and see the evidence in their blood test. The Oasis Program forms require that participants commit to following the Program and dietary guidelines.

What advice would you offer to help position our organization to submit a successful application in the next round?

A local grant (from a local benefactor or community foundation) for $6,000 – $10,000 would ideally position your community to carry out a strong Jumpstart, as would lining up reduced cost or free biomarker testing. Building a strong partnership with your local Pod or creating a new Pod if one does not exist would also position the community for long-term success.