Become a Cooking Matters Host

Do you represent a public school, food pantry, clinic, community center, housing site, or other agency serving low-income Bay Area community members who would benefit from learning healthy cooking and nutrition basics with 18 Reasons?

Partner with 18 Reasons to provide our Cooking Matters community programming to your community members! We offer classes to kids, teens, adults, families, and seniors in either English or Spanish. Cooking Matters pairs hands-on cooking practice with culturally appropriate nutrition classes and free grocery donations to adults, families, and kids. This 6-week series is an evidence-based food skills education that allows food-insecure households to tap into their ingenuity and make the best possible use of their food resources. Each class includes a nutrition lesson, hands-on group cooking, and ends in a shared meal for all. For an overview of all of 18 Reasons community programs, please visit our Commuity Programs page

Partnership FAQs

Who is the Cooking Matters program for?
The Cooking Matters program is a cooking and nutrition education program specifically designed for low-income community members. We have various curricula tailored to different age/demographic groups: Cooking Matters for Kids (for children in third grade and above), Cooking Matters for Teens, Cooking Matters for Adults, Cooking Matters for Families (guardians and their children take this class together), Cooking Matters for Parents (guardians take this class without their children), and Cooking Matters for Child Care Professionals (for early childhood education professionals such as day care and preschool teachers). We are able to offer these classes in-person or virtually. 

What impact does the Cooking Matters program have on participants' lives?
18 Reasons is proud to offer an evidence-based program to our community that is proven to improve low-income participants' healthy cooking skills and kitchen confidence, benefit their health, and boost their food security. We survey our program participants about their eating behaviors and attitudes before and after their program participation. All surveys are anonymous and confidential. In our most recent data, after participating in Cooking Matters: 78% of graduates were eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, 74% were using “nutrition facts” on food labels to make purchase decisions more often, 82% reported increased cooking confidence, and 81% were cooking healthier foods for their household on the same or a lesser budget than before. 18 Reasons' Cooking Matters program improves low-income families' food security scores by an average of 12% in just 6 weeks. You can also check out our Annual Report and our GuideStar profile to learn more about our program impact.

Do you provide classes in other languages?
Yes. Our adult and family classes are taught in either English or Spanish. Unfortunately, we do not have the capacity to provide classes in other languages ourselves, but we are happy to work with sites that can provide instructors or translators who speak other languages. 

How many sessions is the curriculum and how long is each session?
Classes meet once a week, for six weeks, and are two hours long for adult and family classes. Kid and teen classes are one and a half hours. Volunteers and 18 Reasons staff arrive half an hour ahead of time to prep and stay about half an hour after the class ends to clean up.

Is there a cost to the host agency or participants?
If you have money in your budget to help cover the costs of the classes, please contact us for more information about sharing costs! We work with many organizations who can help cover the costs of classes and many who cannot and we do not decide to work with new partners based on funding. There is no cost to participants to attend Cooking Matters classes.

What does 18 Reasons provide?
18 Reasons brings all the food, cooking equipment, and curriculum materials for participants and instructors. We provide a trained teaching team and a staff coordinator for each series. Each week we provide supplemental grocery bags for each participant to take home. We also conduct evaluations at the beginning and end of each series that help measure the impact of our programs in participants' lives. 

What does the host site provide?
The host site provides a space to hold class that has easy access to a full-size sink and running water along with tables and chairs to comfortably fit between 8 - 15 people. If the room has an oven, stove, or fridge we can use please let us know, however we can run a successful class with our portable burners. Some host sites contribute food or equipment to our program but doing so is not a requirement.  The host site is responsible for recruiting 8 - 15 participants, weekly participant communication, and making sure participants attend class each week. The host site must have a staff member present in class every week. 

Are virtual series and/or classes an option? 
Yes 18 Reasons can provide effective and engaging cooking and nutrition classes over zoom. We have adapted our Cooking Matters curriculum to be taught over zoom, where participants join from their own kitchens and cook along. 18 Reasons provides grocery bags every week for each household to the host site to distribute. 

How do we schedule a Cooking Matters series for our site? 
Please fill out our host site interest form and the program manager will follow up to schedule a meeting to discuss a partnership, specific curriculum, learn about the community members, and see the space where you will be potentially holding classes. We schedule 2-6 months in advance, so the earlier we can get a series on the calendar the better. We have a first-come, first-served approach to scheduling and may have a waitlist at any given time based on demand. 

A member of our Community Programs staff will follow up with you.
We typically respond to applications within a week.