Fruit & vegetables

How a growing grassroots movement is inspiring people to try a plant-based diet

Meet PlantPure Communities Pod, one of the latest ideas to join our platform!

Through its network of ‘Pods’ across the world, PlantPure Communities (PPC) wants to inspire people to eat more plant-based food.

The non-profit works to build stronger, healthier, and more sustainable communities through research, policy, and program activities. It created the PPC Pod Network, a grassroots movement of independent groups, to provide support to people committed to a plant-based diet.

“We want to inspire you to eat more plant-based food for your own health and for planetary sustainability. Everyone is welcome to join – whether you are completely new or already an expert in plant-based diets. Running a Pod can be a rewarding way to share your passion for a whole food, plant-based lifestyle with your community and the PlantPure Communities team will support you along the way. 

– Nelson Campbell, founder, PPC

A growing community

Since it was established in 2015, the PPC Pod Network has grown rapidly. Now there are more than 250,000 people participating in about 500 pods globally, across over 30 countries.

Earlier this year, PlantPure Communities Pod joined the ChangeX platform.

According to Ella Stephens, Pod Support Programs Manager at PPC, ChangeX represents an opportunity to bring the Pod concept to a wider audience and support PPC’s scaling journey.

Also, with support from Microsoft via a series of Community Challenges, there’s funding available to support the creation of new Pods.

“The funding opportunity is really exciting, because that’s not something we are able to offer,” Ella says. “We support Pod leaders with education, materials and resources, but not financially.”

“That funding is really exciting and an extra incentive for people to start a Pod; $1,000 to get started with is a huge leg up, and it means Pods can hit the ground running. Maybe they can host an event or offer some food samples.”

She says that Pod leaders could use the funding to rent a space to host meetings or to purchase plant-based snacks for people to try. “That’s a great way to encourage people to check it out, and having some money to spend on the Pod is a real help,” Ella says.

One of the new Pods started via ChangeX is Kindred Soul Family Gatherings project in Atlanta. With funding from the Atlanta Community Challenge, supported by Microsoft, the group are hosting plant-based potlucks in their local community.

Group image from the recent Kindred Soul plant-based potluck in Piedmont Park, Atlanta.
Debra Mazer shared this happy image from the recent Kindred Soul plant-based potluck in Piedmont Park, Atlanta. What a lovely idea!

Supporting change

People join Pods to support one another and work together to spread the message of plant-based nutrition in their communities, as well as have fun and build friendships. 

“We’re a very small non-profit organisation, but we do as much as we can to help the Pod leaders. Everything is centred around providing education and support,” Ella explains.

PPC has created a series of Toolkits focused on vegfests, dining out, healthy school lunches, helping friends and loved ones transition, gardening, and more. Pods choose what interests them and the Toolkits provide the roadmap. In addition, PPC offers webinars, networking hours, and individual support for Pod leaders. 

The focus of Pods shifts from community to community. “For example, the first person who came to us via ChangeX wanted to start a stand at their local farmers’ market to showcase plant-based food,” says Ella.

Guide to starting a Pod
5 step guide to starting a Pod via ChangeX

An inclusive movement

Ella explains that the PPC Pod Network is open to everyone, and strives to create an inclusive environment for people to explore plant-based nutrition.

“The leaders who start Pods, we hope or expect them to be mostly plant-based. As they are the ones bringing the information to the community. But then the Pods welcome anyone to join,” she says.

“Someone who is completely new to this way of eating and wants to explore it, they can find a Pod in their area. We are as inclusive as possible so anyone feels welcome to join a Pod, to learn more and to become a member of a supportive like-minded community.”

Shifting attitudes

A poster for plant-based cooking classes, shared by one of the Pods started via ChangeX
A poster for plant-based cooking classes, shared by one of the Pods started via ChangeX

Ella is passionate about the benefits of a plant-based diet, and loves talking to people who want to learn more. “It’s about being positive, not discouraging people and not making them feel bad about their choices. That’s not how change happens,” she says.

“It’s by demonstrating the benefits of shifting their diet that change happens. Whether that’s sharing a personal story, cooking food for people or talking about the science behind it.”

She sees a growing momentum towards plant-based diets. “So many more people are at least considering it, trying things like Meatless Mondays and Veganuary,” she says. “People are aware of the importance of reducing meat consumption, and are more focused on the climate-impact of food.”

Start or join a PlantPure Communities Pod

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