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Kayla Pasko Kayla Pasko

LA-Based Vegan Food Relief Nonprofit Appears on Rachael Ray

This vegan nonprofit is providing plant-based meals to the houseless in Los Angeles and recently made their debut on the Rachael Ray Show!

This month, The Martha Project—a plant-based food relief organization—received national recognition when the founder, Chef Nicole Derseweh, made an appearance on the Rachael Ray Show. Derseweh started The Martha project in 2019 and has already served over 6,000 high-quality plant-based meals to those without shelter in Los Angeles.

How The Martha Project Got Its Start

After studying at Le Cordon Bleu, Derseweh moved to Los Angeles, where she built up her reputation as a chef while working as a waitress. When her grandmother, Martha Ann, became sick with cancer, Derseweh was inspired to research the way health and nutrition affects the body and how to make nutritious, plant-based food more accessible. This ultimately led her to creating her own food relief project.

The Martha Project is named after Derseweh’s grandmother, who used food as an expression of love and as a way to provide charity to the community. Now, Derseweh is carrying on her grandmother’s legacy through the nonprofit organization.

The Martha Project on The Rachael Ray Show

During her time on the episode of The Rachael Ray Show, which aired on Friday, July 16, Derseweh gave the audience an inside look at how The Martha Project executes its mission of providing plant-based meals to the houseless community throughout Los Angeles, as well as how the organization works to restore dignity through human connection. Derseweh also explained how her team prepares dishes such as chili lime stir-fry, Veggie Love Burritos, Mediterranean plates, and full Thanksgiving spreads, which are then packaged in eco-friendly containers before being distributed.

“Although it seems like what we are doing is serving food, these plant-based meals are just the vehicle for what we are truly serving—love. The Martha Project believes every human is worthy of love and deserving of human contact and the dignity of being acknowledged, seen, and appreciated. That’s why all of our meals are served directly to the encampments and our volunteers engage in healthy connection with the houseless individuals we serve. We take time to make eye contact, ask them how they are doing, and let them know that we see them—that their life matters and they are loved,” Derseweh told VegOut.

At the end of the episode segment, celebrity chef Rachael Ray, in partnership with the brand Wickles Pickles, donated $10,000 to The Martha Project.

The Vegan Ketogenic Diet Cookbook

In addition to running The Martha Project, Derseweh works as a private chef for Hollywood’s health-conscious stars and is also the mind behind bestselling cookbook The Vegan Ketogenic Diet.

For more information on The Martha Project, visit themarthaproject.org or check them out on Instagram at @themarthaprojectla.

Kayla Pasko


Kayla, a Midwest girl living in NYC, is a writer with a background in media sales. When she’s not scoping out trendy vegan spots, she’s usually taking a yoga class, shopping at Trader Joe’s, or catching a Packers game.

Articles by Kayla

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