Become a Cooking Matters Host

Do you represent a public school, food pantry, community clinic, community center, or other agency serving low-income community members who might want to learn healthy cooking and nutrition basics with 18 Reasons?

If so, read on to learn about being a CM Host to bring Cooking Matters to your site.

18 Reasons' CM Host partners are responsible for recruiting low-income community members to participate in our Cooking Matters program (healthy cooking and nutrition classes, often paired with grocery donations called Cook-it Kits). 18 Reasons will provide the recipes, food, curriculum, and instructors needed for an engaging and effective class that will help participants achieve better health and greater food security. We also love it when CM Host site staff are able to serve as class instructors, when appropriate. We currently offer either virtual or in-person programming. We will continue to follow health department guidance and keeping our community safe to best adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are happy to work with our partners to determine which option would make for the best learning experience for our students. Below you can check out some educational videos on our yotube channel and our core values which drive the way in which we do our work.

Planned & Prepped

We are excited to announce our newest program, Planned and Prepped. Planned & Prepped (P&P) is a 6-week continuation series designed for adult participants who have graduated from the 18 Reasons Cooking Matters program. This learner centered curriculum expands on learned skills to increase confidence in home-cooking through adaptable meal planning, prepping, and storage on a budget. Participants of P&P practice making weekly meal plans, become more adaptable at the grocery store and in the kitchen, discover what food staples and recipes work for them 

P&P classes can be hosted completely online or through a hybrid model with both in-person and online community building experiences. Classes are offered in partnership with sites that have hosted a Cooking Matters series in the past and offer graduates an opportunity to re-engage with their fellow cohort and continue to build community. If you are a community partner interested in offering Planned and Prepped to your Cooking Matters graduates please reach out to your CM contact or Claudia ( 

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. We offer Spanish-language instruction and materials for the following curricula: Cooking Matters for Adults, Cooking Matters for Families, and Cooking Matters for Parents. We conduct classes in either English or Spanish, so that participants can converse and share freely with each other. We do not offer bilingual programming, and we do not have the capacity to provide classes in languages other than English or Spanish ourselves. However, we are happy to work with CM Hosts who can provide instructors or translators to serve students who speak languages other than English and Spanish.

Is there a cost to the CM Host agency or to Cooking Matters participants?
No. We work with many organizations who can help us cover the costs of our Cooking Matters programs for low-income families and many who cannot. We do not decide whether or not to work with CM Host partners based on their funding. However, we do ask our CM Host partners to help us cover the cost of Cooking Matters programming at a level that is feasible for their agency. Please contact us (you can find the relevant Community Programs staff member for your location on our staff page) for more information about sharing costs. Note that having a member of your staff teach in Cooking Matters classes for your participants can help us cover the cost of classes. We require that Cooking Matters classes be free for participants.

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