Food for Life
Next training session: Apr. 9 – June 4, 2024
The training is an 8-week self-paced online course requiring approximately 5-7 hours of coursework per week. During the training, you will learn how to deliver the Food for Life nutrition and cooking classes in-person and online to your community. You will be supported by the Physicians Committee team and experienced Food for Life instructors.
There are weekly required live Zoom sessions and additional options for networking and office hours. For an overview of the schedule, please see the listing of required and optional live session dates and times below.
Required Live Sessions – Spring 2024
Tuesday, Apr. 9, 7 - 9 p.m. ET
Monday, Apr. 15, 12 - 1 p.m. ET
Thursday, Apr. 25, 7:30 - 9 p.m. ET
Live Class: TBD
Wednesday, May 1, 7 - 9 p.m. ET
Tuesday, May 14, 8 - 9 p.m. ET
Tuesday, June 4, 8 - 9 p.m. ET
*Week of 5/7 – 5/13– TRAINING BREAK (week off)
**Weeks of 5/14 – 6/4. Required to register for one 1-hr session for cooking demonstration; various times available (day and evening)
OPTIONAL Live Sessions – Spring 2024
Friday, Apr. 12, 12 - 1 p.m. ET
Thursday, Apr. 18, 12 - 1 p.m. ET
Friday, May 3, 12 - 1 p.m. ET
Monday, Jun. 3, 12 - 1 p.m. ET
REQUIRED Live Sessions – Fall 2024
Tuesday, Sept. 17, 7 - 9 p.m. ET
Monday, Sept. 23, 12 - 1 p.m. ET
Tuesday, Oct. 1, 7:30 - 9 p.m. ET
Tuesday, Oct. 8, 7:30 - 9 p.m. ET
Live Class: TBD
Tuesday, Oct. 22, 8 - 9 p.m. ET
Tuesday, Nov. 12, 8 - 9 p.m. ET
*Week of 10/15 – 10/21– TRAINING BREAK (week off)
**Weeks of 10/22 – 11/12. Required to register for one 1-hr session for cooking demonstration; various times available (day and evening)
OPTIONAL Live Sessions – Fall 2024
Friday, Sept. 20, 12 - 1 p.m. ET
Thursday, Sept. 27, 12 - 1 p.m. ET
Friday, Oct. 25, 12 - 1 p.m. ET
Friday, Nov. 8, 12 – 1 p.m. ET
Instructor Tuition: $999
Food for Life instructors are individuals seeking to be independent, freelance plant-based cooking instructors who teach at community venues or online to their local community. This includes small business owners, medical professionals, and anyone with a passion for plant-based nutrition and wellness.
Instructor applicants must have a passion for promoting plant-based nutrition for general good health, and a personal adherence to primarily whole food, plant-based eating that is 100% free from animal products (including honey). This includes not promoting other diet protocols, even if you eat that way yourself. To see if your way of eating aligns with the Food for Life program, review Physicians Committee recipes or our Vegan Kickstart app.
Applicants must be willing and able to market the Food for Life classes in your community, secure venues and audiences, and handle administrative details with the Food for Life team.
Applicants must have strong oral presentation, organizational, and business or entrepreneurial skills, as well as experience in cooking and food presentation.
Instructors are not able to train other individuals to teach the curricula. One must complete the Physicians Committee’s training to become an instructor.
Instructor applicants must:
- Complete the application form.
- Include your resume as a PDF.
- Include a link to a short video (three to five minutes) of yourself carrying out a cooking demonstration. A video exceeding five minutes will result in a lower application score.
- The video can be homemade from a home kitchen or a staged cooking class attended by family and friends.
- The video must be submitted via a website link (e.g., YouTube).
- Single-ingredient cooking demonstrations will not be accepted.
- Smoothies and meals cooked in a kitchen appliance (e.g., blenders, pressure cookers) will not be accepted. Elements of a dish can be prepared in a kitchen appliance, but not the entire final product.
PCRM's Food for Life program is unique in that it is well-rooted in the science of whole-food, plant-based nutrition. Instructors have a community of fellow teachers and Physicians Committee staff from which to receive ongoing support.
Asha Subramanian, MD, MPH, Food for Life Instructor
Institution Tuition: $1,249
Food for Life institutions are for-profit businesses or nonprofit organizations planning to incorporate the Food for Life class curricula into their current wellness offerings. This includes schools, medical institutions, restaurants, fitness and health centers, etc., with a wellness mission. It also includes employers interested in improving the health and productivity of their employees while reducing absenteeism and health care costs.
Food for Life institutions are licensed to teach the program exclusively to their customers, patients, or employees and have the unique option to train other colleagues to teach the Food for Life curricula at their workplace.
A Food for Life institution applicant must have their own establishment with meeting space capable of holding Food for Life classes. The applicant must have their establishment at the time of applying. The institution may only teach in their place of business or online to their customers, patients, and/or employees, not at other venues in the community at large.
Applicants must be willing and able to market the Food for Life classes from their place of business to their customers, patients, and/or staff and handle administrative details with the Food for Life team.
Applicants must have a representative from the institution who will teach and/or train colleagues to lead the Food for Life curricula and a business plan for integrating it into their existing wellness offerings. The license to teach Food for Life classes is granted to the institution and not an individual. The institution representative participating in the training will serve as the point of contact for Food for Life. Employees of the institution may teach Food for Life classes at the place of business. No employee is eligible to teach classes once their employment with the institution ends.
Institutions are not eligible for the scholarship.
Food for Life institution applicants must:
- Complete the application form.
- Include your resume as a PDF.
- Include a link to a short video (3-5 minutes) of yourself carrying out a cooking demonstration. A video exceeding five minutes will result in a lower application score. Please see the FAQs for more details related to the cooking demonstration video.
Basic Program Licensure Guidelines*
The Food for Life program advances evidence-based dietary recommendations: a plant-based, low-fat, high-fiber, primarily whole food diet. Food for Life does not promote other dietary protocols, such as macrobiotic; raw food; gluten-free; organic; non-GMO; local/seasonal; salt-, oil-, and sugar-free (aka S.O.S.); etc.—even if the licensed instructor or institution staff eat this way.
There are set curricula for the Food for Life courses to ensure programmatic uniformity and message consistency with the delivery of the program. There is some room for adjustment; however, the Food for Life courses are intended to be delivered as set out in the lesson plans.
The Physicians Committee does not collect proceeds from the fees that licensed instructors or institutions may charge participants and/or venues for their Food for Life classes.
There is an annual Food for Life license renewal fee of $199 (subject to change) for instructors and institutions. The Physicians Committee incentivizes the reduction or waiver of the standard license renewal fee through teaching classes (terms and conditions apply). The Food for Life license includes several benefits, including Physicians Committee membership, exclusive discounts on educational and business development programs, license to teach all program curricula, access to the program resource library, etc.
In addition to the nutrition education and cooking instruction, a key component of the Food for Life classes is the dissemination of educational handouts and literature to the participants. For online classes, electronic files of the handouts may be disseminated to participants via email, for example. For in-person classes, hard copies of the literature are required to be disseminated to participants. Instructors and institutions based in the United States are required to purchase class literature at a discounted rate from the Physicians Committee. International instructors and institutions may have copies of the literature professionally printed domestically.
The successful administration of Food for Life requires recordkeeping, promotion, providing class participant support, and class preparation. This may involve setting up a business or nonprofit entity, creating a website, executing a class registration system, and more.
*Upon completion of the training, Instructor and Institution trainees will receive comprehensive agreements that address all program licensure guidelines.
Food for Life Training Application
Q: Where do I find the Food for Life application?
Links to training applications can be found here.
Q: When are applications due?
Applications for the Spring Training are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday, Jan. 12. Applications for the Fall Training are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 1. After those stated times, applications for 2024 will not be accepted. Please submit your application in advance to allow for any technical challenges—they happen!
Q: What is required to complete the application?
Please complete the entire application to be considered for the Food for Life Training. This includes answering all required questions, including a current resume or CV, and including a link to a video of you conducting a 3- to 5-minute cooking demonstration video (details below in “Cooking Demo Video" section).
Q: What if I want to save a partially completed application?
There is a “Save and continue” feature in the application. You may stop and save a partial application if you need more time to complete it. Click “Save and continue” at the bottom of the screen. You will receive a “Partial Data Saved” message with a link. Important: You MUST SAVE THE LINK IN ORDER TO RESUME where you left off. If you do not save the link, you will have to start your application over from scratch.
Q: I am a solopreneur/have a personal business; should I apply as an institution?
You may apply to be an institution if the following applies to you: 1. You have your own establishment with meeting space capable of holding Food for Life classes; 2. You have the establishment at the time of applying; 3. You will comply with the requirement to teach only in your place of business or online to your customers, patients, and/or employees; 4. You will not teach at other venues in the community at large; 5. You have a representative from the institution who will teach and/or train colleagues to lead the Food for Life curricula and a business plan for integrating them into existing wellness offerings.
Application Prerequisites and Recommendations
Q: What are application prerequisites?
To be considered for the Food for Life Training, candidates must be 100% vegan and primarily whole food plant-based for at least one year prior to applying. This helps to ensure instructors can guide students accordingly from personal experience.
Q: Have you seen a Food for Life class in action?
If you have never attended a Food for Life class, we strongly encourage you to experience one prior to becoming an instructor. You can find a class here. Note: You can filter by location, by online or in-person classes, and additional features.
About the Food for Life Training
Q: What does the Food for Life Training entail?
The training is a self-paced online course with on-demand presentations, live sessions, and optional meetings. Training will be broken into three main parts over the eight weeks:
- Food for Life program, curricula introduction, and deep dive into nutrition topics
- Food for Life administration, business & marketing topics, partner overview
- Additional nutrition education, cultural competence, and inclusivity content
Q: Is there any live content?
Yes. The training includes 12 live sessions: eight required live sessions and four optional live sessions, all via Zoom. You can find the schedule of live sessions here.
You are required to attend the eight required sessions unless you provide notification in advance. The sessions are recorded for individuals who have a time conflict, who live in incongruent time zones, or who would like to go back and reference anytime.
Q: What are the scholarship qualifications?
To qualify for a scholarship, you will need to demonstrate a financial need plus a commitment to helping underserved communities, including Black, Latino, and Native American communities. There are limited scholarships available.
Q: How do I apply for the scholarship?
To apply for a scholarship, complete the instructor application.
Scholarship questions are contained in the standard instructor application (questions 28-31). To apply for the scholarship, select “yes” for the “Would you like to be considered for a scholarship?” question and complete the three subsequent scholarship questions, in addition to completing the remainder of the instructor application. Institutions are not eligible for scholarships.
Q: What is expected of scholarship recipients?
If you are selected as a scholarship recipient, you are expected to teach a four-class series to an underserved community within seven months of completing the Food for Life Training. You will also need to submit a scholarship report detailing use of scholarship funds.
Cooking Demo Video
Q: What is the length requirement for the cooking demo video?
To be considered for the Food for Life Training, your application must be submitted with a short video (three to five minutes) of you conducting a cooking demonstration.
It is very important that you stick to a maximum length of five minutes. If your video is longer, points will be subtracted from your application score.
Q: How do I make a whole recipe in less than five minutes?
You are not expected to prepare a dish from start to finish in only five minutes.
To create a cooking demo that is less than five minutes, have the majority of your ingredients prepped and ready prior to starting your demo. Save one or two preparation steps for demo purposes, such as zesting a lemon or dicing a tomato.
You are welcome to edit out “downtime” from the video, such as time when you are blending ingredients, simmering the recipe on the stove, etc. You are encouraged to show a finished product.
Q: What recipe guidelines should I follow?
Your recipe should meet Food for Life dietary guidelines, which consist of the following:
- No animal products
- Low fat and avoiding added oils
- High fiber when possible
Q: In what format do I submit the cooking demo video?
The video must be submitted via YouTube, Vimeo, or another website URL. Please test your video to ensure your link is functional prior to submission and can be viewed by anyone with that link. If your link is password protected, there is a question after the video link submission question where you will enter that password. No CDs, DVDs, or emailed videos will be accepted.
Q: What level of culinary experience is expected?
You are not expected to be a professional chef. However, demonstrate you have experience in the kitchen and will be able to make the recipes offered in Food for Life classes.
The cooking demo video should show your skills as an instructor and the way you would teach an audience to prepare a dish. You do not need to have an audience and may simply teach to the camera.
NOTE: Smoothies and meals cooked in a kitchen appliance only (e.g., blenders, pressure cookers) will not be accepted. Elements of a dish can be prepared in a kitchen appliance, but not the entire final product.
Q: What additional elements make for a successful cooking demo video?
For a successful cooking demo video, be sure to explain what you are doing as you prepare your dish.
Incorporate nutritional tips. You do not need to explain major concepts but do interject information about the ingredients you are using. For example, “Did you know red peppers are high in vitamin C?” or “This recipe calls for 1 cup of black beans, which provides over 18 grams of fiber!”
Be sure YOU are featured in the video (not just your hands, your audience, or an aerial view of your ingredients).
Last, but certainly not least, let your personality shine!
After Submitting Your Application
Q: What are next steps after applying?
Your application will be reviewed by a team of Physicians Committee staff.
If your application is accepted for round 2, you will be contacted via email to schedule a 1:1 interview with a staff member.
Acceptance notifications will be announced via email by Aug. 1.
Q: What are next steps after acceptance?
If accepted, you will be required to submit information for a background check.
Training payments for those not receiving scholarships will be due by Friday, March 15, 2024.
Training begins Tuesday, April 9, 2024!
Q. Are there annual requirements to fulfill post-training?
After the training, there is a requirement for annual renewal of the Food for Life license. The maximum cost is $199. However, the fee is reduced or waived based on frequency of teaching Food for Life classes. Visit the licensure guidelines to learn more.
Q: If I am not accepted, can I apply again in the future?
Absolutely! We receive applications in excess of available training spots. Therefore, not every applicant will be accepted. By reapplying for a future training, you further demonstrate your interest in, and commitment to, the Food for Life program.
If you have any additional questions, please email us at apply [at] FFLclasses.org (apply[at]FFLclasses[dot]org).
The Food for Life program gave me the words to convey what my heart wanted to say but did not know how. The instructor training, resources, and support are thorough, straightforward, and convenient.
Darylin Berryman, Food for Life Instructor
The Physicians Committee is proud to offer a limited number of grant awards to attend the 2024 Online Food for Life Course Training and to start Food for Life businesses. The grants are aimed at supporting people who intend to deliver Food for Life classes to populations most impacted by health disparities, including the Black, Latino, and Native American communities. Those applying for the grant award will be asked to demonstrate their financial need, their plans to bring Food for Life classes to underserved communities, and how they will use the grant award to build their Food for Life business. Grant award recipients may receive:
- A waiver of the $999 instructor training fee.
- Funding to support the development of their Food for Life business, including but not limited to:
- Marketing and advertising including social media presence development, website optimization, Facebook and Instagram ads, SEO, etc.
- Website development, including domain name registration, website design, etc.
- Email marketing service fees
- Business development, professional development and education
- Hiring professional services providers, including a graphic designer, accountant, copy editor, website developer, photographer for a headshot or food photos, etc.
- Print material expenses including the purchasing of Physicians Committee print materials and printing the Food for Life self-print pieces, etc.
Those who feel they meet the criteria for the grant award may apply by completing the scholarship section within the Instructor application. To access the Instructor application, click the “Apply” button in the Instructor section above. There is no separate application for the scholarship.
If you have general questions about the training, contact apply [at] fflclasses.org (apply[at]fflclasses[dot]org).