Monthly Archives

June 2018


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For Information, contact: Jody Kass, PPC Executive Director: 704-412-4506 x101


First round of scholarships for 2018


PlantPure Communities today announced five Group Leaders of Pods who are the recipients of scholarships for the renowned Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate Program offered through the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies (CNS) and eCornell. These scholarships are being made available via a collaboration between PlantPure Communities (PPC) and CNS which is aimed at building the capacity of community leaders carrying out impactful activities in their neighborhoods via the PPC Pod Network. PPC is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that works to build stronger, healthier, more sustainable communities through a wide range of research, policy and program activities and by working with local nonprofits, governments, businesses, and other health and community-based organizations. The PPC Pod Network emerged out of the 2015 PlantPure Nation film with the goal of creating and supporting a grassroots movement by empowering a network of independent local groups (Pods) and people to promote the benefits of a whole food, plant-based lifestyle. Pods are independent groups of like-minded people, working together to spread the message of plant-based nutrition in their communities, as well as have fun and build friendships. To date, there are approx 500 groups across the globe with over 75,000 people involved in the Pod Network. Participation is free, and offers support and networking opportunities to everyone interested in learning, advocating, and practicing a whole food, plant-based lifestyle.

Five Pod leaders were chosen to receive this scholarship due to the commendable work they are doing and the impactful community goals they are planning for 2018. “We are so thankful to CNS for their partnership and for allowing us to offer this exceptional educational resource to our on-the-ground Pod leaders who are bringing the science of plant-based nutrition to their communities,” said Jody Kass, PPC Executive Director. “CNS is pleased to support PPC’s efforts to strengthen the Pod Network by offering these educational scholarships to active community leaders helping to share the science-based nutrition and health message. There is so much confusing information out there. It is crucial that this information reaches everyone, and especially those who live in food deserts, low-income, and other underserved neighborhoods where food borne chronic diseases are rampant,” said Jenny Miller, CNS Executive Director.

The scholarship recipients represent a diverse group of local leaders who will be bringing evidence-based nutrition education back to their communities in Ontario, Florida, North Carolina, Washington, and Idaho.

Amanda Allan

Amanda started the Kingston Veg Network Pod, located in Ontario, Canada, in January of 2018. Although a new Pod, it meets monthly and future Pod meetings will include cooking demonstrations, potlucks, meal prep events, grocery store tours, guest speakers, and documentary screening. In addition, Amanda is organizing community garden spaces that the group can access so they can promote, educate, and support their members to grow their own food. Amanda said, “Living a plant-based lifestyle is incredibly impactful for preventing and reversing disease, living ethically and in a sustainable way. Preventable disease is prevalent in my family (and all of our communities) and I strive to be a voice for change. I am extremely passionate about promoting this lifestyle, and this course will lend legitimacy to incite positive changes in the lives of those around me, and those I engage through my Pod and other volunteer endeavors. Not only for personal growth, but it is invaluable to me to be able to help others transition to this way of life as a confident and credible source of information.”

Amy Tasetano

Amy Tasetano founded and fostered two Pods in Southwest Florida, SW Florida Healthy Eating in Venice and Port Charlotte. These pods have grown from 10 to over 600 members in two short years. Both Pods have been active in the PPC Restaurant Campaign and eight restaurants in these communities have earned Restaurant Campaign certificates of participation. In addition, Amy currently mentors three Group Leaders in PlantPure Communities Pod Network and has earned the Leadership Award for submitting the most Pod News articles. On being awarded the scholarship, Amy stated, “This certificate will enable me to have a deeper, more trusted understanding of the WFPB lifestyle. Additionally, the knowledge I acquire will help me to be a more educated and credible presenter to my Pods, ​at speaking engagements as well as on the internet. ​​I hope to expand my educational outreach to members of my Pods,​ neighboring communities as well as those who follow me ​on ​about the benefits of adopting a WFPB lifestyle.”

Christine Frost

Christine is a co-leader of the Eating Smarter Each Day Pod in Durham, North Carolina. The monthly Pod meetings include themed discussions, presentations, cooking demonstrations, and video screenings. They have even hosted guests such as Nelson and Kim Campbell. Christine has also been a key leader in organizing a week long series of events for the last three years that she calls “Plant Based Eating Week.” This event includes trips to local vegan restaurants, catered plant-based food samplings, and cooking demonstrations. Upon being awarded the scholarship, Christine said, “After starting my own PlantPure Pod with a friend, I heard about this scholarship and knew it was meant for people like me. The China Study and PlantPure Nation are both perfectly in line with my reasoning behind becoming a career Health Coach. After losing my father to heart disease at the age of 57, I took control of my own health and the health of my family. I lost over 50lbs in a two-year period and because of the helpful resources provided by the Campbell’s and others, I was able to reach those who needed my help and carry out my mission. Now, I hope to build even more confidence and a strong foundation to provide relief to people who are suffering from terrible eating choices –  by showing them that there is a better way. With a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition, I know I can be armed with the facts and teach others who want to be stronger and healthier.”


Joy Colborn

Joy is a new group leader for Battle Ground Healthy Revolution, in Battle Ground, Washington. She plans to initiate the PPC Restaurant Campaign and work with locally owned restaurant owners and the local school to start serving whole-food, plant-based meals. Joy said, “I applied for this scholarship so that I could speak intelligently to those around me who are hesitant or skeptical regarding a plant based diet and the benefits it offers. I have some knowledge now based on the documentaries I have watched but I really want to solidify the information and turn that into education for my community and loved ones.”

Valerie Scrafford

Valerie is the group leader of Wholly Lifers out of Hayden, Idaho. In 2016, only one person attended the first Pod meeting. Two years later, the Pod has 225 members and anywhere from 20-25 attending the monthly meetings – which include presentations, cooking demonstrations, video screenings, and book reviews. Valerie even helped encouraged her mother to become plant-based and start her own Pod in Sequim, Washington. Valerie said, “I applied for the CNS scholarship so that I could gain further credentials in order to reach more people with the good news of the whole-food plant-based lifestyle and its health benefits. I strongly believe that the appropriate credentials are vital to build credibility and trust in the community. I expect to gain a broader knowledge base through the course and look forward to sharing this information with others.”


The Pioneering Providence Pod

By | Pod News, Restaurants/Eating Out | No Comments

June 15, 2018

Over 70,000 people across the globe are members of independent local groups (aka Pods) which are connected to the PlantPure Communities Pod Network — all working to promote the benefits of a whole food, plant-based lifestyle and growing the PlantPure Communities (PPC) grassroots movement. The Providence, Rhode Island-based group, Powered By Plants RI, is an active, highly effective part of the Pod Network. Under the leadership of Christie Jeffries, Kim Anderson and Judy Harff, the Powered by Plants RI Pod is pioneering local initiatives for Pod engagement in the PPC Oasis Program, accelerating Pod Engagement via their 600+-member Pod, and they are fast becoming a leader in the PlantPure Communities Restaurant Campaign. In addition, Pod co-Leader Kim Anderson serves on the PPC Advocacy Council. Beyond sharing her insights and expertise on national advocacy issues, this also ensures that the on-the-ground experience of this Rhode Island Pod gets applied to PPC’s national advocacy agenda.

Powered By Plants RI has consistently stepped up to undertake innovative community-centered projects, paving the way for others to creatively implement PPC initiatives in their neighborhoods. Most recently, in recognition of this groundbreaking work, the Powered By Plants RI Pod received the prize for ‘most creative effort’ with the Restaurant Campaign Wave Challenge on April 12th. The goal of the Restaurant Campaign is for every restaurant around the country and the globe to offer at least one plant-based, oil-free meal on their menu. The Powered By Plants RI Pod has pioneered a new approach to advance the PlantPure Communities Restaurant Campaign. Working with local restaurant owners the leaders of the Pod  convinced two restaurants in Providence, RI, to host private events with specially designed plant-based menus.

The first event, which took place at the Bluewater Grill on January 29th, sold out nearly 48 hours after posting on Facebook. This showed the restaurant owners the growing demand for plant-based, oil-free dishes, and helped them understand that it isn’t hard to make tasty, healthy, oil-free meals. Bluewater Grill’s vegan chef, Chef Cara, designed a buffet featuring vegetable crudites with beet hummus; arugula salad with an oil-free dressing; roasted butternut squash, kale and brussel sprout medley with curried almonds and chickpeas; spaghetti squash pad thai; and stuffed sweet potatoes with black beans, spinach and avocado topped in a pepita “parmesan.” Pod Co-Leader Kim, who was overwhelmed by the level of interest, expressed her appreciation for the event, “The buffet dinner prepared by Bluewater Grill for our Rhode Island PlantPure Pod was a massive success. The event was such a success that Bluewater hosted another event for us 4 weeks later for those who missed out on the first event, and once again we filled every seat. The restaurant looks forward to hosting us again soon, and our members do as well! The food was fantastic. The ability to sit and eat a chef-prepared plant-based meal with no worries of sodium and oil, was a gift!”

Healthy eating is a growing trend in America. A 2018 report identified plant-based dining is 2018’s trend of the year.(1) Indeed, according to the National Restaurant Association, in 2017, 70% of adults said the availability of healthy menu options would make them choose one restaurant over another.(2) In addition, according to a recent Top Trends in Prepared Foods report, six percent of the U.S. population now identifies as vegan, compared to one percent in 2014!(3) 

Since the January 29th event, Bluewater Grill has adjusted their menu to reflect availability of  plant-based, oil-free meals, and they have earned a Certificate of Participation in the PlantPure Communities Restaurant Campaign. “Bluewater Grill was happy to put an asterisk next to several plant-based options on their menu, indicating that various  items can be made oil-free,” said Kim. The Certificate was presented to Bluewater on March 5th.

The success at Bluewater Grill has inspired the Powered By Plants RI Pod to host another ‘Restaurant Takeover’ event, this time at the India Restaurant in Providence. The demand was so great that Kim and Judy needed to work with the restaurant to organize two separate seatings. The event was held Monday, April 9th.

The PlantPure Communities Restaurant Campaign, is now ramping up, and prizes are being awarded each month for creativity and achievement via fun and replicable challenges. The Campaign is supported by a virtual Toolkit, and a new Action Sheet describing the process of hosting a private event at a restaurant is being crafted and will be added to the Toolkit this summer.  PPC expects it will inspire other Pods to follow in the footsteps of the Powered By Plants RI Pod.



The Mentor Program – A Mentor’s Experience

By | Leadership, Pod News | No Comments

June 7, 2018

The PlantPure Communities Mentor Program was created to strengthen and grow the Pod Network and the greater plant-based grassroots movement. The Program matches experienced Group Leaders (GLs), with new or struggling GLs, based on their  locality (e.g., rural, suburban, urban) and interests (such as hosting meetings, growing membership, and participating in the Restaurant Campaign). Mentor GLs offer advice, tips, and knowledge about their own experiences leading a Pod, as well as answer questions from Mentees.

The Mentor Program commenced December 2017 with three initial matches. Six months later, there have been 13 Mentor pairs who have completed the 3-month match-up, with another six pairs currently active. Once matched, the pairs are encouraged to ‘talk’, approximately two times a month, for three months. These mentoring sessions occur over email, phone, skype, or in person (if the pair are proximate to each other). Several GLs willingly mentored multiple Mentees at one time, taking the time to connect and support each one of them. One of these superstar Mentors that we are spotlighting today is Amy Tasetano, who is the GL of the SW Florida Healthy Eating Pod and Venice Healthy Eating Pod in Florida. To date, Amy has been mentored five group leaders.

Read what Amy had to say about the Mentor Program:

Q: How has the Mentor Program been meaningful to you?

A: As a leader of two PlantPure Communities Pods, I enjoy sharing much of my knowledge about the Whole Food, Plant Based Lifestyle with my members. As a Pod Mentor, I am given the opportunity to make an even greater impact on a larger scale.  The Mentees I work with, some of who are new to this diet, share my desire to help others who wish to learn about this lifestyle. They also, like me, wish to create a community with like minded people. When these Mentees are successful, they in turn help even more people. As a Mentor, I am able to positively touch so many more people that are outside of my local community. The more successful Pods we create, the more opportunities others have to participate in this movement. I feel honored to be involved in the creation of a ripple effect, improving the diet and health of others as well as benefiting the underserved, our environment and the animals.

Q: What have you gotten out of being a Mentor?

A: As a Mentor, I have made friends with Mentees who share my goals and ideals about this lifestyle and helping others. It is nice to share conversations with fellow leaders who are facing challenges, some of which I have conquered. This gives me pride in knowing how far I have come as a Pod leader and that I can help others do the same.

​Q: Please share any additional thoughts about the Mentor Program:

A: I encourage Pod leaders to participate in the Mentor Program as it is very rewarding. ​Sharing successes, challenges, strategies, pearls of wisdom and experiences can help both Mentor and Mentee. ​I also hope that new (and not so new) Pod leaders make use of this program as we all do better when we are in this together.

PlantPure Communities is very appreciative of the hard work and dedication all of the Mentors have contributed to the Program.

If you are an active Group Leader who has been running a Pod for over six months, please sign up to be a Mentor! We are looking for inspiring, enthusiastic, and motivated GLs to support the Pods and strengthen the plant-based movement. Sign up here to become a Mentor: