(Note from Erin: If you’ve spent time here at HNN then you know I eat a plant-based diet but DO NOT begrudge people who don’t. I do not care what anyone eats, I just heartily desire people to make healthy choices. With that in mind, check out the story below.)

When thinking of cooking schools, most people automatically think of expensive, gourmet schools that charge upwards of $40,000 per year and teach people how to cook all the classic restaurant meals and then some. However, not many are thinking about Made in Hackney, a school that uses all plant-based ingredients that are local, sustainable, and organically grown. It’s a tough feat for anyone in this day and age of easy shopping at mega grocery stores who source their produce from across the world and the world’s obsession with meat and dairy, but Made in Hackney has taken it on as a response to what they see as global crises.

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The British cooking school has already gone above and beyond by addressing locally what needs addressing globally by showing people how to effectively eat ethical, locally-sourced meals that are made strictly from produce that comes from the ground rather than those that are a product of animals, and they’re striving to do even more. Since the issues they want to address are global, they understand that the need for change is persistent at every socioeconomic level; for this cooking school, this means that people of all statuses should have access to the cooking classes necessary to help make those changes. That’s why they’ve started a Crowdfunder to help more people take free, or pay-by-donation, cooking classes.

“Since launching in 2012 we have helped 6,000 Londoners gain the vital food skills to lead healthier, happier lives. We’re crowdfunding now to grow our project, secure our future and ensure we can help another 10,000 people over the next five years attend our life changing cookery and food growing courses,” it says on the Crowdfunder. 

Credit: Lauren Anders Brown

Their objective in this next huge step is to provide the classes for anyone who truly wants to learn but doesn’t have the financial resources. By opening up access to these classes, they can make a world of difference in the lives of not only the participants but in the community at large, which can inspire endless others to make an ethical change in their lives.

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Credit: Patricia Niven

The current goal on the Crowdfunder is set for £85,000, which is a little over $111,000 in USD, which is their “stretch” target. With the amazing testimonials and statistics gathered from 2016, their positive influence speaks for itself. (Editor’s note: This story isn’t new but the good news is that the program made its funding goal and is still active.) According to statistics, no less than 90% of participants were inspired to eat more fruits and vegetables as well as start cooking from scratch, while 95% felt more connected to local community.

“I attended the Cooking For Life course at a children centre with my two year old son. We learnt so much. I’ve started to cook at home – which I’ve never done before and it’s improved my relationship with my wife. We’ve signed up to a veg box scheme and we’re growing trays of salad on our patio. What a change.” said Rashid, one of the participants.

Credit: Christian Sinibaldi

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*Article originally appeared at True Activist.