Bees and Honey

We just kicked off our summer workshops this year after months of organizing and planning during our hiatus. This week, we worked with summer camp students at Maple Grove Elementary School. Our lesson was on the importance of bees to the environment. We discussed with the kids about what roles bees play in nature, what they do for us, an introduction the types of bees and how they go about collecting pollen and producing honey, and how we can help the declining population of bees. We took advantage of the beautiful sunny weather and allowed the kids to plant their own pollinator flowers in biodegradable cups. We wrapped up with some delicious honey tasting – a great treat for the kids and volunteers alike. Thank you to all the volunteers that took their time to help out (we had an awesome turnout!) and the summer camp coordinators for allowing us to teach the kids!

Interested in our lesson plan? Here’s a summary below:

The function of bees:

  • Bees travel from flower to flower and carry pollen to other flowers, helping them grow.
  • Without bees, there would be a large shortage in the flowers and plants in the world, including those that we depend upon for food.

Types of bees:

  • Queen bee: the largest bee in the hive. She lays all of the eggs for the colony and maintains the population.
  • Worker bee: the worker bees are all female bees that feed the queen and larvae and collect nectar to make honey. They have a proboscis for which they use to suck nectar out of flowers.
  • Drone: drones are male bees. They do not collect pollen or nectar like a female bee but help to produce more larvae.

Bee habitat:

  • Honey bees live in a large hive where they build a honeycomb. The nectar is deposited within and is transformed into honey for the bees to eat during the winter when there is a scarcity of available flowers. We can collect excess honey that the bees don’t need as a natural sweetener for ourselves.
  • Bees have a dance to signal to other bees where to obtain a good source of nectar.

Help spread the word about bees to save our insect friends as we definitely need them! Check out our gallery for pictures from the workshop and follow us for updates about our workshops.


Grains and Goodies.

In today’s workshop, we worked with the kids from Grade 3-4 to learn about grains.



Somethings that we went over:

  • Whole wheat contains the unrefined portions – germ and bran, which include the most important nutrients.
  • Bran is the protective outer shell, high in fiber and b vitamins. Germ is the seed for the new plant, contains b vitamins, some protein, minerals and healthy oils. Endosperm contains starch, protein and some vitamins and minerals.
  • Whole Grain means that the grain contains all 3 parts
  • When a grain is refined, the most important parts of the grain are removed, leaving the endosperm.

We brought in uncooked barley, buckwheat, and rice, and asked if they could identify it from a list of grains. Afterwards, we made a grain salad with cooked buckwheat, barley, greens, pomegranate seeds, pears, walnuts, blue cheese, and cherry balsamic vinaigrette. Most of the kids were not a huge fan of the blue cheese but they were brave and tried it despite the smell.

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Until next time!



Vegetarian Protein!

We just had our first workshop of the year, working with vegetarian protein with the older kids.

Here’s a brief overview of the things we taught the kids:

  • What being a “vegetarian” means, and why someone would choose to be one.
  • The importance of protein in the diet and sources of meatless protein
    • It helps to break down food in the stomach, chemical messengers in the body, build bones, muscles, teeth, skin, fingernails, etc.
    • All foods have protein but good sources include soybeans, lentils, black beans, etc.
  • What a complete protein is
    • Explained amino acid as a building block to proteins and that some sources have all the building blocks and some do not
    • Meat is an example of a complete protein where it contains all the building blocks
    • Vegetarian protein sources generally do not and need to be eaten in combination to obtain all the nutrients we need:
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We ended the day by making wraps!



Pass our lessons on to kids that you know and help spread the knowledge about nutrition and healthy eating!


Winter Workshops – Volunteer Opportunities

We are starting to gear up for our workshops this semester and we are looking for help! If you want to volunteer, click the volunteer tab at the top of the page for information on how to get involved. This year we are planning to have workshops at two schools (days still being determined). The workshops themselves will be similar to what we have been doing previously (learning component and then a game or food prep component). Volunteering is a great way of getting community experience, hours, or general experience in building leadership skills, planning and management skills, and interpersonal skills.

Send us an email and be a part of the team!


Summer Workshop Wrap up

Summer is coming to an end and the rain marks our return to school and the start of a new semester. But it’ll be an awesome one with tons great things ahead! Over the summer we worked with summer camp students on three workshops. Briefly, the topics we have covered are:

Food Security:

We explored food security and availability, where and what kinds of foods that we see at home or in our everyday lives, touched a bit on food system chains such as from the grocery stores from the farms, as well as discussed the role of import foods in our view of food security. As part of an activity, we brainstormed “Pillars of Food Security” where we made a list of three main components of being food secure (Availability, Access, Use). We also discussed food insecurity and how we can help those that are food insecure.

As a hands on work activity, the kids decorated an old yogurt container and then planted kale, while having kale chips as a snack! Yum!

Sustainability in Our Food Systems:

In this workshop we discussed how much food waste really occurs when food goes from farms to grocery stores to consumers. We discussed how food is wasted on our farms, such as crop failures, regulations on quality and appearance, and what we can do about this issue, namely using substandard foods as animal feed, being more careful as farmers and not overproduce crops, or sold at a lower price to encourage purchase. Grocery stores waste food and materials such as containers and packaging. The big thing to counterbalance this is to buy local, buy in bulk when possible, and be less picky about the quality of food when it doesn’t affect taste or nutrition. The last point leads us to consumer waste, where we as consumers throw out food or over purchasing and leaving food to expire or go bad. To help this issue, we can save our food as leftovers, not over purchase, share our food, and simplify what we buy.

To drive our point home, we made reusable grocery bags where the students could decorate their own and save on the use of plastic grocery bags.

How Food Gets From the Farm to the Table:

In our last workshop we looked at the process from food to our table of various types of food. For example, animals for meat products need to be fed, kept healthy by the farmer, properly slaughtered and processed, sent to butchers where consumers can purchase what they need. Vegetables need to have seeds planted, proper growing conditions met, harvested when ready, and transported to distribution centres and stores. Dairy and eggs have similar methods to meat products with the addition of the labour of collecting the milk or eggs, pasteurize, homogenized, and separated (in terms of milk). Further processing necessary for milk products (cheese or yogurt). We also talked about processed foods.

Later, we played a small game where we had the children guess which food originations from where!

And that briefly wraps up our summer workshops! We had a great time and excited that Food for Thought is starting to expand to more schools and teaching and changing the lives of more students! We can’t wait to start our regular schedule up again.


August Summer Workshops

It’s been a while but we have a few workshops scheduled for August:

Thursday, August 7th from 10 am – 12 pm (Week 5 of camp, “Into Orbit” planet/space theme)

Thursday, August 14th from 10 am – 12 pm (Week 6 of camp, “Animal Adventures” theme)

Monday, August 18th from 10 am – 12 pm (Week 7 of camp, “Summer Sendoff” theme)

We’re always looking for more people to help out at our workshops!

We’ll start up with our regular schedule after school is back in session in September.


Vitamin B Workshop

This week we worked with grades 1 and 2 teaching them about the B vitamins! We played musical chairs, where they either have to say a healthy snack or something they learned about vitamin B once they’re out. And then we made air-popped popcorn which was a real hit with the kids. They were super excited to see the popcorn popping, jumping and flying into the bowl. We seasoned them with three combinations of toppings: honey, coconut, and coconut oil in one batch, raw sugar, cinnamon, and coconut oil in another, and nutritional yeast, coconut oil, and just a pinch of salt in the last one. All of the kids took to at least one of the combinations and loved this easy nutritional snack!

There are a wide range of B vitamins including B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, and B12, all of which has different functions in the body. Simply put, B vitamins are healthy for a couple of reasons. They help your body convert food into energy, which also includes breaking down fat and protein, leading to feeling less fatigued throughout the day. Your immune system also requires B vitamins to function and protect the body from colds and flu viruses. B vitamins help cognition and brain function which is important in children when they’re learning in school. Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is required by pregnant mothers so the fetus can grow properly. One disorder that can increase in risk in mothers lacking B9 is spinal bifida, where the neural tube does not close properly and the spinal cord protrudes out.

Some sources of B9 are: beans, seeds, nuts, fortified cereals, leafy green vegetables, nutritional yeast, and coconut oil.

Recipe: Air-popped popcorn

Plain popcorn kernals popped in an air popper without oil is a healthy free snack. It provides protein, fibre, iron, and B6. An air popper is generally easy to use, just throw the kernals into the popper and let it run. Make sure the lid is on and a bowl is in place – it can get quite active.

Once popcorn is popped, top with any healthy toppings such as:

  • Nutritional yeast and coconut oil, a pinch of salt
  • Coconut oil, coconut, and honey
  • Cinnamon, and sugar, and coconut oil

These are all nutritious, and the nutritional yeast is super high in B vitamins.


We’re recruiting volunteers!

Food for Thought is recruiting volunteers for the summer. If you’re interested or want more information about what we do, check out our volunteer page or just simply send us an email at foodforthoughtvancouver@gmail.com.

We hope to have you join us!