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For information, contact: Kera Linn, Pod Operations Manager:


PPC is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that empowers individuals to build healthy, kind, 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 comprise like-minded people, working together to share the life-saving nutrition research that shows that a whole-food, plant-based diet is optimal for humans. To date, there are over 250,000 people and hundreds of Pods involved in the PPC Pod Network (in 32 countries). Participation in a Pod is free and offers support and networking opportunities to those interested in learning about, advocating, and practicing a whole food, plant-based lifestyle.  

Eight exemplary leaders were chosen to receive this scholarship due to the commendable work they are doing and the impactful community goals they are planning for 2022. “We are grateful to CNS for their ongoing partnership with PPC, and for the scholarships they provide so that we can offer this exceptional educational resource to our on-the-ground Pod leaders who bring the science of plant-based nutrition to their communities,” said Caroline Dyar, 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 nutrition-related chronic diseases are rampant,” said LeAnne Campbell, CNS Chief Executive Officer. 

The scholarship recipients represent a group of local leaders who will be bringing evidence-based nutrition education to their communities. The recipients are located all around the world, including India, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, and the United States (Missouri, Georgia, New York, and California)! Meet our recipients (please note that many of the usual Pod activities described below have been impacted by or adjusted due the COVID-19 pandemic):

Ramona Lit

Ramona is the Pod leader for Heel Plantbased NL Pod, located in Heel, Netherlands. She is very active in both her local community and PlantPure Communities. Some of her activities include participating in PPC’s Global Jumpstarts, growing Pod membership to over 645 members, and actively translating many of PPC’s resources to Dutch. Upon receiving the scholarship, Ramona stated, “I struggled with my health for many years and always believed that food can heal the body. I tried several diets and experienced healing personally when I transitioned to the whole food, plant-based diet. I couldn’t believe that no one ever told me about this. Now I’ve made it my mission to raise awareness in the Dutch speaking community and increase common knowledge about the health benefits of the whole food, plant-based lifestyle. I make every effort to motivate everyone to choose long term health over short term pleasure and unhealthy habits by demonstrating it’s not difficult to make the change. Next to that I am connecting communities to help build a strong whole food, plant-based and healthy vegan community, while working closely with PlantPure Communities, local organizations, and local inspiring people who have the same mission. The Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate will help strengthen my knowledge and build my credibility as a whole food, plant-based advocate.”

Jessica Krock

Jessica is the co-Pod leader for the Plant Powered St. Louis Pod, located in St. Louis, Missouri. This Pod was launched in January, 2021 and is off to an amazing start. They already have over 450 members and are actively hosting virtual meetings and partnering with local groups. When Jessica received this scholarship, she stated, “Switching to a whole food, plant-based diet has changed my life in so many ways. In the beginning, I struggled to find my ‘why’ beyond weight loss, but as I educate myself, I am more committed to the whole food, plant-based lifestyle than ever. I am excited for the opportunity to further my education with this scholarship and share that knowledge with others. My husband and I want to continue showing people that they can change their lives and have fun in the process!”

Christopher Gray

Christopher is the co-Pod leader for Kingston Whole-Food Plant-Based Group, located in Kingston, Ontario Canada. Christopher had been an active member in this Pod since 2018 and then took over the leadership role with his wife in 2021. Upon receiving the scholarship, Christopher stated, “I am very passionate about eating a whole food, plant-based diet and living a healthy lifestyle. After switching to a plant-based diet (along with my wife and son), I have felt healthier, lost weight, and gained so much energy. The knowledge I will attain in this course will help me in better understanding the specifics of how a whole food, plant-based diet reduces risk of disease and improves overall health. Having this opportunity will also allow me to better familiarize myself with plant-based nutrition and become a plant-based expert. I am excited to share my knowledge with family, friends, our Pod, and the broader community.”

Stephanie Johnson

Stephanie is the Pod leader for the Whole Health ATL Pod, located in Atlanta, Georgia. Her goal is to curate movement experiences outdoors alongside nourishing whole plant foods, which she has achieved for her community throughout the duration of the pandemic. Stephanie stated, “I applied for this scholarship to deepen my understanding of the science behind the success of the whole food, plant-based diet. Having this knowledge and the accompanying certification supports my intention to educate and empower my local community to join the movement and reclaim their health sovereignty.”

Peg Haust-Arliss

Peg is the Pod leader for FLAVOR: Finger Lakes Area Vegan Organization, located in Clyde, New York. Over the years Peg has built up her Pod to over 260 members. She stated that the Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate Program will provide her with the courage to move forward, armed with the ability to deliver the knowledge to others. In addition, she said, “I applied for this scholarship because plant-based nutrition is my passion and I know it will enhance the way I practice as a holistic psychotherapist. I teach my clients that to feel happy and positive is NOT just about a healthy mindset, we need to feed our minds, bodies, and spirit with health. As far as this particular course, I always want to learn from the best in the field, this is the best of the best. I expect this course to help me confidently express with my Pod, clients, family, and friends the life-changing information provided in the course.” 

Sanjeev Barooah

Sanjeev is the co-Pod leader for Fitness Incorporated Pod, located in Guwahati, India. Before the pandemic started, Sanjeev and his co-leader organized health camps for community members which gathered 30-40 people. In addition, the Fitness Incorporated Pod certified the first two restaurants in India through PPC’s Restaurant Campaign. Sanjeev stated, “The knowledge I will gain by this course will help me to understand about the benefits of a plant-based diet and its wide range of benefits. The fallacy of people needing meat to transform their body has long been debunked, now people can look up to me and transform their body with a plant-based diet. I can help them with the knowledge on a proper diet change in their healthy lifestyle. I am a personal trainer, who has the knowledge not only about exercise, but also what kind of food to eat in order to fight off many chronic diseases. Exercise only is not a solution, a plant-based diet needs to be included.”

Dr. Julia Brehm

Dr. Julia is the Pod leader for the Eat Happy Go Lucky Pod, located in Garching bei München, Germany.  After being inspired by Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study, Julia switched to a whole food, plant-based diet and started her own Pod. She continues to inspire people to eat a healthy diet and connect with those in her community. She and the other Pod Leaders in Germany have even co-hosted all-Germany Pod meetings! Upon receiving the scholarship, Dr. Julia stated, “Whole-food, plant-based nutrition is almost completely unknown in Germany, even though it harbors great potential for our health. It is time to change this once and for all, and with the knowledge provided in this course I will continue to educate and grow this movement!”

Sandra Rechenmacher

Sandra is the co-Pod leader for Eat for the Earth Santa Cruz, located in Santa Cruz, California. The two co-leaders have been actively moving the compass towards better world health and wellness in Santa Cruz through numerous events and programs. Activities include the first Santa Cruz VegFest, nine Restaurant Campaign certificates, food prep classes, and a virtual program called ‘31-Days of Inspiration to Heal’. Sandra stated, “I applied for the scholarship to the Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate Program offered through CNS and eCornell as a means of updating my understanding of current nutrition science, the master key to optimal health and wellness. This certification will further my credibility, helping me reach more people. It will also support and validate my mission of inspiring more people to make brilliant changes to their diets, so that they too can live healthy, happy, and joyful lives, as Nature intended.”


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