Current Campaigns and Initiatives

Community Rx

In 1990, the first Global Burden of Disease study revealed that dietary risks had surpassed cigarettes as the top risk factor for disability and death worldwide. By 2013, a person was almost twice as likely to die from poor diet as cigarettes. In the developed world, the culprit is diets low in nutrients and fiber and high in salt, unhealthy fats, cholesterol, and sugar. We are dying from diets low in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and beans, and high in meat, dairy, eggs, and processed foods.​

The dietary change that can remedy this, a shift to or towards whole food plant-based eating, if adopted by enough people, will also restore integrity to our biosphere. Eat for the Earth offers a program to support this change. We call the program “Community Rx” when offered to English speakers, and “Salud en tu Plato” when working with Spanish speakers.

Community Rx/Salud en tu Plato empowers participants to reclaim their health through an education and diet intervention program. Program elements include three in-person events, nutrition education, food prep demos, meal plans and recipes, and mentoring. Through pre- and post-program biometric tests, participants witness the power of a plant-based diet to transform their health, for example through decreases in blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose. We piloted the program in spring, 2022, in collaboration with the international nonprofit PlantPure Communities and a local healthcare clinic, Salud Para la Gente, that serves a primarily low income Latino/a/x community.

After conclusion of the pilot, we were able to secure three years of funding from two local governments, the County of Santa Cruz and the City of Santa Cruz, to expand and improve the program. Everyone deserves good nutrition information, access to healthy food, and support to improve their diet. The food on our forks is making all groups sick, but structural inequities are making some groups sicker. We use targeted universalism—focusing on the needs of the particular and lifting all to the same high standard. Everyone is welcome in the program, but our strategies address systemic barriers to good health for the most disadvantaged communities, affording them the chance to thrive alongside others who do not face the same disparities.

One strategy to address inequities is partnering with clinics that largely serve people of Latino/a/x heritage who have low incomes. In our county, Latino/a/x communities suffer diet-related conditions such as diabetes and obesity at much greater rates than those in the general population. We have designed the program to be accessible, relevant, and responsive to the needs and realities of these populations. For example, the pilot used an online educational component that was beyond the technological and technical capacity of most of our intended audience. We were able to pivot to a text-based support and education system in which we send multiple encouraging texts to participants daily, with links to food prep videos, recipes, and other helpful resources. Because almost everyone in our intended audience has a smart phone and knows how to open texts and click on links, the tools and skills to access the information is accessible to our participants.

We offer multiple sessions annually. Intended outcomes include individual and systems change to improve health in our community. Individuals feel better right away and see measurable change in their lab results in ten to fourteen days. This provides impetus to stick with the diet and continue to access support to improve their health. Systems change occurs as a result of partnerships with healthcare providers. By observing the changes in their patients, providers directly witness the healing power of plant-based diets. We can then refer them to resources designed for health professionals, so they can deepen their learning, get the nutrition education often lacking in medical schools, and have tools to help more of their patients.

To learn more about the program or get on the interest list, click here for English and here for Spanish.

Community Outreach and Education

A group of children interacts with food cubes at Eat for the Earth's booth at a festival to learn about the greenhouse gas emissions to produce common foods.Eat for the Earth is committed to increasing community awareness about the myriad benefits of plant-based and plant-strong diets. Our community outreach and education takes many forms. We frequently have a presence at community festivals and similar events. We speak to groups. We hold educational events, and participate often in collaborative educational symposiums and conferences. And we are happy to provide resources to support deeper learning.

Regardless of the type of educational event, if it is in-person, tasty food is a critical component of the educational endeavor. We find the combination of compelling information and delicious food provides a powerful motive for people to consider adopting and maintaining a plant-based or plant-strong diet. The convincing information about the benefits of this way of eating inspires people intellectually, but research shows that the taste of food is the primary conscious driver of people’s food choices. Providing a tasty meal or a variety of palate-pleasing samples along with the education assures people that they can do the right thing by the Earth, their health, and all Lifekind, without sacrificing flavor. That is why we consider persuasive data and scrumptious treats a dynamic duo!

Plant-Based Food Preparation Classes

Learning how to prepare healthy, tasty, sustainable foods is an essential skill for adopting an Earth-friendly diet. Eat for the Earth helps to fill this need by offering “coolinary” classes, online and in-person, in collaboration with Tastes Like Love. These classes are interactive, inspiring, educational, and fun! We teach people foods that adhere to the gold standard in nutrition, Whole Food Plant-Based, and Oil-Free. Diets composed of exclusively whole plant ingredients are good for you, good for the Earth, and good for all Lifekind. And we make sure that the dishes we teach are delightfully scrumptious. Our intention is to demonstrate that no sacrifice in flavor is necessary when eating healthy, environmentally sustainable foods.

In-person classes provide an opportunity for everyone to engage in hands-on learning together. Some of our online classes are demonstrations, and others, our Play-Alongs, also are hands-on. For these online classes, we send ingredient and equipment lists in advance so that people can make the foods along with our instructor in their own kitchens. All classes, regardless of the format or venue, include nutrition education, practical food preparation tips, delicious recipes, connection, and inspiration!

Find out about upcoming and past classes here.

Class topics vary. Here are a few of the classes we have offered:

  • Artisanal Plant-Based Cheese, Please!
  • Desserts in the Raw—Plant-Based and Guilt-Free
  • Classic Comfort Food Makeover
  • Wrap it Up—Hearty Meals to Hold in Your Hands
  • On the Table Now: WFPB Meals for Your Full Life

Other Campaigns & Initiatives

Eat for the Earth volunteers are helping inspire changes in food policies and practices toward more sustainable, healthier foods in multiple ways. Let us know if you are interested in getting involved in these efforts!

Benefits of Plant-Rich and Plant-Based Eating

Eat for the Earth encourages institutions to increase purchases of plant foods and decrease purchases of animal products because such a shift is a necessary part of living within the boundaries of Earth’s environment. By adopting and maintaining a plant-based or plant-rich diet, you can take part in the work of countering climate change and reducing species extinction, deforestation, air and water pollution, land degradation, and many other environmental problems.

There are many additional benefits to reducing animal product consumption or going all the way to plant-based. Among these are:

  • Improving human health: Plant-based diets have been shown to reduce the incidence of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, many cancers, high blood pressure, stroke, and many other diseases.
  • Reducing world hunger: Because of land use alone, if everyone in the world ate as the average US citizen does, we would need 137% of all of the habitable land on earth to feed our entire global family! Growing animals for food also requires more water, fertilizers, fuel, and other resources than does growing plants to feed directly to people.
  • Saving money: A plant-based diet that emphasizes whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains is less expensive than diets centered around meat, dairy, fish, and eggs.
  • Being compassionate: Raising and killing animals for food involves horrendous suffering for the animals and many of the workers.
  • Enjoying the flavor: There is a tremendous, growing interest in the great variety of flavorful plant-based foods!
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