What is the process to become a partner? Is there an application?
If you think Cooking Matters might be a good fit for the parents and caregivers that your organization serves, please contact Cooking Matters through our online contact form. We will respond to your inquiry within two business days.
Who is a partner?
A partner can be any type of organization working with our priority audience of parents and caregivers of children aged 0-5. Sometimes this might be the entire audience you work with, such as a Head Start or new mother support program. Alternatively, this might be a segment of the population you work with, if you represent a family resource center or health center. We ask that our partners understand our need to reach this particular audience and are comfortable prioritizing recruitment for it.
I want to host a course and/or tour. How long is the process?
It depends. We’re more than happy to schedule a program months in advance, but we know that can’t always be the case. Since we do rely on partners for recruitment, we find that scheduling at least six weeks ahead of time gives both parents and partners more flexibility. We find that October-November and March-May tend to be busier. We are a small team, so we will try to accommodate our availability to your schedule as best as we can.
Who teaches these programs?
We come to you! All programming is led at partner sites throughout the state. Cooking Matters staff come prepared to implement and deliver the food skills education lessons and activities. For Tours, a Cooking Matters staff member will facilitate. For six-week Courses, we work as a team with experienced volunteers to facilitate culinary and nutrition lessons. A Cooking Matters staff member will always be present at every program. However, we work closely with you to help us make sure other factors are successfully set into motion, including arranging for a proper space to run the program as well as making a plan to be sure parents can have a meaningful experience. We work with you to identify that there is proper language interpretation, child care, and other supports to ensure the program’s success.
Parents of very young kids, especially moms, are in a crucial position when it comes to their children’s eating habits and health. They have a powerful influence over family food decisions, from shopping to meal prep, and are often more open to making lasting changes toward a healthier lifestyle. New mothers are particularly open to behavior change. Research shows that first-time moms tend to make the biggest improvements in positive eating behaviors, like eating breakfast every day and eating fruits and vegetables. Limited-income moms also make bigger changes than higher-income moms. Young children need nutritious food that they’re excited to eat. That’s critical for their health and happiness – today and in the future. As meal providers, that’s where parents and caregivers come in.
Why limited income?
Families with limited budgets have enough to worry about. We want those that struggle to stretch their food-buying dollars to be provided with the resources, information, and skills to make the best decisions for their family.
Who is responsible for recruiting participants at a program?
You know your clients best! The Cooking Matters staff member you’re working with can share resources, sample language and flyers to help make recruiting easier for you.
I want Cooking Matters to table at my health fair.
Our main goal is behavior change. We’ve found that drop-in style programming doesn’t let participants get the whole picture of our program. Our method is discussion and participation based. For that reason, we prefer to set aside scheduled time for our programs.
I want to offer a program for kids and teenagers. Can I do this?
Our material is designed to target parents; we rarely schedule beyond that audience. Click here for additional resources for working with kids and teens.
What is your teaching approach?
We strive to meet our participants where they’re at and make the content as relevant to their lives as we can. We follow a learner-centered teaching style using facilitated dialogue. It’s not a lecture, but a discussion. We reinforce our content with incentives that can be put to use immediately, such as groceries and grocery store gift cards.
Does your program cost money? How is the program funded?
When possible, a partner can pay for a portion of the course costs (generally $500 to $1,000 per course). However, when partners are unable to share in the cost of the course, Cooking Matters does have funding to sustainably support programs (federal funding, grants, foundations, culinary event fundraisers).
How are the culinary traditions and particular likes/dislikes of participants taken into account?
Cooking Matters staff communicate with the partner organization’s point person to discuss how best to customize the course to meet the needs of the participants. During the course, participants are encouraged to provide input about what foods they would most like to prepare.
What if I want to offer a program outside of Massachusetts?
For any program outside of Massachusetts, please contact view our national partner network.