“The song is ended, but the melody lingers on” –Irving Berlin

As Irving Berlin says, although we may be done this project and almost completed LFS 350, the skills and assets learnt and developed throughout this semester will follow us for the rest of our academic careers. It is a bittersweet feeling to be writing our last group blog of the course. Despite being relieved that our assignment is complete, I think we can all agree that we will miss working with such a fantastic group of individuals. All in all, we have been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with such an amazing organization and community partner.


Although none of our group members knew each other initially, we all had had the common interest of working with our community partner, The Breakfast Club of Canada. We sought to support their organization in accomplishing their mission of providing nutritious breakfast to students, improving food accessibility of communities, and working in partnership in the creation of sustainable food systems.  Every group dynamic begins a little differently, and having no prior relationship, our group was starting from ground zero. Over the course of the semester we had breakdowns in our communication and we missed deadlines. This lead to frustration, not knowing how to express these challenges.

In addition, our group is extremely diverse, each with unique nationalities and cultures. It has been proven that there are several benefits to working in multicultural groups such as creative problem-solving and creative decision-making (Woods et al, 2011). However, as explained in an article by Katherine Phillips, the anticipation of differences in opinion and perspective due to the recognition of diversity within a group can actually lead to group members working harder to come to a general group consensus (Phillips, 2014). Despite having said that diverse groups have the potential to invoke more challenges within the group dynamic as well as increased debate among decisions, group diversity has been seen to lead to a better and more creative final results. Ensuring that a group functions as a collective is essential for success.

Our moment of significance was during our Week 9 tutorial when we reflected on our emotional experience and attainment of knowledge over the course of the semester, as well as we were provided the space for one another to give feedback. This gave our group the chance to express how we felt, and gave us the opportunity to grow as individuals and as a collective. We were able to eliminate road blocks that stood in the way of our success, by being aware of how others perceive our contribution to the group. We re-aligned on our expectations and roles within the group.

So what?

 Working as a group is powerful because of the different backgrounds, knowledge, and experiences that we each draw on to contribute to our work. Upon receiving our feedback, it was recommended that some members take greater initiative, others be more accepting of questions, and to support our group members using our individual strengths. Working together we were able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of our group, and use them to our advantage to maximize our productivity. Having had the space of feedback initiated through our tutorial, the way we communicated became more succinct. We became more efficient in our work by completing assignments faster. The work we produced was of a higher caliber because we had a better understanding of one another. This resulted in a great response from our community partner, as we had more clarity of our community partner’s goals for the project. To date, we have completed all of our assignments from the Breakfast Club, to a standard  that both our group and community partner are happy with.

As hoped by our group members we are ending this semester having hit the peak of our knowledge and are content with our experience working in the community, achieving our goal of ending on a “high-note”.

Now what?

Our group has gained skills on giving and receiving feedback, communication, and collaboration. These skills are not only valuable in the academic world, they are essential in the workforce. Being able to give and receive feedback is what allows you to grow and support the growth of other individuals. The value of this course is unquantifiable, because of the real world skills that are developed and refined over the course of the semester.
Employers seek post secondary education graduates who are able to contribute and be contributed to.

Moving forward, we hope to keep these skills in practice, and apply them in future academic and work environments that we encounter. Feedback is a difficult skill to master, as it causes you to communicate in a way that may not always be perceived well by peers or colleagues. Through our experience we have seen the value of speaking up and sharing with a team, as it can make monumental changes in all areas of productivity. We are excited to be able to apply the skills learnt from this class in other classes as well as experiences in the future.

Some Final Words:

As a farewell, we would just like to say we have been extremely lucky and fortunate this semester to have been given the opportunity to work with a dedicated and passionate organization and community partner. As this project comes to a close, we all take away of skills and knowledge gained throughout this semester and reflect on how far we’ve come. Despite this being somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster for most of us, we are all excited to end this project on a high and are looking forward to being able to present our project to students in the Nest on Wednesday. We look forward to seeing you there and would love to share with you our excitement towards the work we’ve accomplished this semester. Thank you for joining us on this experience and we hope that you have enjoyed it as much as we have!!

Farewell from the Breakfast Club of Canada Group; Angela,
Mercy, Nika, Claire, Kate & Chloe!

Works Cited

Phillips, K. W. (2014). How Diversity Makes Us Smarter. Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-diversity-makes-us-smarter/

Woods, P., Barker, M., & Hibbins, R. (2011). Tapping the benefits of multicultural group work: An exploratory study of postgraduate management students. The International Journal of Management Education, 9(February 2010), 59–70.

Beginning Our Grateful Dismount

“I feel like every project I work on is a dream project, so long as I am learning.” – Simeon Kondev 

As Simeon explains, the most important part of a project is what you learn. This week gave our group the opportunity to reflect on our project so far. We thought about all the ups and downs emotionally that we’ve experienced this semester as well as the knowledge that we’ve gained throughout this project. We hope you’ve enjoyed the journey so far as much as we have and look forward to how this adventure ends!

Weekly Objectives and Achievements

Week 5 (October 17th to 21st)


  • Prepare for the school visits to Alderson Elementary on October 24th and 25th and organize rides with the group member who is responsible for driving
  • Start entering the data for the school receipts into the spreadsheet based on the template provided by Robin
  • Start conducting research on the communities of the schools we have received receipts for. Research the local food assets, and food security for each target community.
  • Organize a second meeting with our community partner by contacting Robin


  • In order to prepare for the school visits each group organized a time and place to meet with the group member driving in order to get to Alderson Elementary school at 7:45 am.
  • Started conducting research for each target community in order to meet the deadline of October 24th
  • Group members started entering data on the school receipts into spreadsheets based on the template provided by Robin in order to meet the deadline of October 24th.
  • Contacted and organized a meeting with Robin. The group visiting Alderson Elementary on October 24th will meet with Robin after the breakfast program is over.

Week 6 (October 24th to 28th)


  • Visit a school in Coquitlam that is part of the Breakfast Program run by the Breakfast Club of Canada.
  • Finish all receipt logs by the 24th.
  • Meet with Robin Ryan for an update on current progress so far as well as future progress.


  • Our group all managed to see the Breakfast Program in action at Alderson Elementary in Coquitlam on two different days. On October 24th,  Kate, Chloe and Claire went to see and help out with the program. The rest of the group, Mercy, Angela and Nika went the following day.
  • Kate, Chloe and Claire met with Robin following the school visit to report on current progress so far and establish a timeline for the remaining weeks of the semester.
  • All receipts were analyzed and the school financial spending patterns were completed and looked over by Robin.

Week 7 (October 31st to November 4th)


  • Start working on Blog post number 3
  • Analyze schools assigned to each group member on a google doc spreadsheet before November 4th including location of school, food assets near school, financial tables of proportion of expenditure on different food categories, and challenges faced by schools
  • Contact food distributors that can be potential partners with Breakfast Club of Canada, and details need to be include (eg. products they supply, service area, whether they open to serving school, chance for discounts and minimum order size). Each group member is supposed to contact at least two food distributors, and integrate individual part into one Google doc profile before November 4th.


  • Finished the third group blog post on November 5th
  • Posted individual part for food financial breakdown and information collected from contacting food distributors on Google doc. Invited Robin to Google doc and received feedback from him.
  • Identified and discussed moments of significant change that have occurred in our project and created infographics during tutorial session.

Our Eureka Moment (aka Moment of Significance)


You can see from our graphs that we have all had unique experiences over the course of our community project. Gaging our skills and knowledge there was a common pattern of increased growth, although happening at different rates. We also all foresee gaining more knowledge through the completion of the remainder of the project.

Our graph that charted our emotional experience shows a significant contrast between group members. Some members have had fairly steady emotions through the semester, whereas others have had more severe peaks and dips in their emotional well-being.

The most noteworthy part of our graphs, a commonality between all group members and both graphs, is the moment of significance where every group member charted their best emotional experience and period of highest earned knowledge. This moment signified when we had the opportunity to visit Alderson Elementary School in Coquitlam, where we were able to observe and participate in the daily breakfast program. Our group separated into two groups of three and visited the school on Monday, October 24th and Tuesday, October 25th. At the schools we helped prepare breakfast, had the opportunity to interact with staff and students, looked at the kind of foods that were being served, and took note of the community response to the program. Half of the group had the opportunity to reconnect with our community contact, Robin Ryan, which allowed for us to realign on the goals and deadlines we established at the beginning of the term. This allowed us to walk away with more clarity and confidence in what we have to accomplish for the rest of the semester.

In addition, being able to participate in the breakfast program, allowed us to build a more genuine connection and investment in our community project. As Ron Finley said “If kids grow kale, kids eat kale. If they are not exposed to this, they blindly eat whatever you put in front of them” (2013). This likens to our experience volunteering in the breakfast club. Not being exposed to a breakfast program, we are doomed to believe whatever we hear and read as we would not have the context to form our own judgements and opinions. And as the kids and their kale, experiencing the program allowed us to become personally involved, resulting in a our group finding new personal meaning to carry us through the rest of the project.

In our group meeting with Robin we broke down how the program was run at Alderson elementary, and for that matter many of the schools that our group is analyzing for our final report. We had a discussion about the patterns of foods being purchased: the good, the bad, the popular, the expensive. For example, syrup was a common food commodity purchased by many schools, one of no nutritional value, and loaded with sugar. Brainstorming how we could minimize the purchase of syrup is difficult because of the different stakeholders who contribute to that decision. This decision parallels with the conflicts in the Metro-Vancouver food system discussed in the article “Parallel alternatives: Chinese-Canadian farmers and the Metro Vancouver local food movement”. The local food movement in Metro Vancouver, often excludes opinions of the Chinese-Canadian farmers, which leads to skewed decisions, as Chinese-Canadians make up 15% of the Metro Vancouver farming population (Gibb & Wittman, 2012). This paradigm resembles a school food system through the relationships of authority figures and staff with students. Although we want to ensure kids are receiving densely nutritious food, they still need to be foods that appeal to kids. Not considering a child’s opinion of what they want to eat for breakfast can lead to breakdowns in the program, as unrealistic purchases are then made. This leads to inefficient spending as food is wasted, which is the exact problem our group is trying to solve in the Northern BC food system. Through the lecture discussions and readings, our group has new perspectives to integrate into the remaining aspects of the assignment, which will hopefully allow us to make recommendations that consider all those involved in the school system and reach decisions that benefit all groups.


Our Graceful Dismount:

Although our group has worked well together and our project has gone smoothly so far, we recognize the possibility of setbacks as we approach the final stages of our data collection and analysis. There are a number of ways we can act in order to ensure we dismount from our collaboration with the Breakfast Club in an elegant and graceful manner. Most importantly, we plan to think ahead and maintain our communication.

We set out our goals and target dates for their completion in our project proposal, and thus far have kept to them diligently, but to ensure success we have re-examined and updated our timeline, as seen below in table 1.

The ‘moments of significance’ activity was instrumental in helping us identify the various highs and lows that we have had in the course so far and got us to think about feedback . We intend to incorporate the feedback that we receive from our peers to improve the group’s efficiency and working dynamics going forward because we do recognize that feedback is an essential part of learning.

Another step we can take is inspired from the podcast ‘Failure is your Friend’ by Freakonomics, which explains the value in looking ahead to the end of a project and predicting failure. Although it is tempting to assume everything will go well, and leave it at that, there is a huge benefit to acknowledging all the ways a project can go wrong. If we take some time in our group to brainstorm some possible disastrous failures, we can come up with strategies to deal with setbacks and recognise problems before they have a chance to escalate.

Our community partner has been firm, yet very supportive. This has helped keep us on top of our assignments, from not only completing tasks on time, but also doing them to a standard approved by the Breakfast Club of Canada. It is important to us that we maintain the good working relationship that we have built, and one way we intend to do this is by maintaining constant communication and updating him on our progress throughout the remainder of the project.  

Additionally, communication within our group has been an essential element of our success so far. Thanks especially to some of our more diligent group members, we correspond regularly to touch base, delegate our tasks, and clarify any unsurety. As we continue to work with our data and incorporate feedback from our community partner, constant and detailed communication between our members will help circumvent possible confusion within the group. This will keep our work at a high quality and ensure we are able to meet our deadlines with confidence.

Table 1: An updated timeline to guide our group’s journey to the fast-approaching end of our project

Timeline Target dates
Project Steps: Rough drafts of financial food breakdowns completed and and available to community partner Nov 4
Template of final report sent to community partner for feedback Nov 7
Community partner provides feedback and suggestions for additional tasks Nov 11
Brainstorm future directions for the project and creative development strategies for the target schools with guidance from our community partner Nov  12-24
Project and final report completed Nov 25


Some Final Words:

All in all, the past few weeks have been very exciting for our group. From completing our receipt logs to seeing the breakfast programs in action, we could not be happier with how this project is going. We have now transitioned into the part of the project where we get to add our own insights and truly start to work towards helping these schools the best way we can. Stay tuned for our final farewell!


Finley, R. (2013, March). A Guerilla Gardener in South Central LA. Speech presented at Ted Talk. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/ron_finley_a_guerilla_gardener_in_south_central_la?language=en

Gibb, N., & Wittman, H. (2012, August 21). Parallel alternatives: Chinese-Canadian farmers and the Metro Vancouver local food movement. Local Environment, 18(1), 1-19. doi:10.1080/13549839.2012.714763

Progress and Proposal Report


            “A Problem well stated is a problem half solved” – Charles F. Kettering

According to Kettering, crafting our project proposal was half the battle, but the fun part is just starting! Over the past few weeks our group has worked very hard and gained lots of clarity regarding our projects goals and expectations through research and our community partner. This has enabled us to successfully complete our group proposal which was a big achievement for us. Our group is very excited to move onto the next step which involves community engagement and working with real data from our community partner.

The Proposal Report can be found through this link : Proposal Report

Weekly Objectives and Achievements

Week 1 (September 19th – 23rd)


  • Start working on Blog post number 1
    • organize a time to meet as a group to work on our first blog
  • Contact our community Partner and set a date and time to meet with him
  • Research about Breakfast Club of Canada and learn about their mission and aims
    • Brainstorm questions we have about the community organization and project


  • Had our first group meeting
    • In our group meeting we brainstormed ideas about our group interests and what we wish to gain from in LFS 350
    • Came up with questions we had regarding Breakfast Club of Canada and our project so that we could ask our community partner once we have a meeting set up
    • Started working on our first blog post
  • We contacted Robin Ryan through email to set a time to meet with him so that our group could become familiar with Breakfast Club of Canada, and learn about the specific outcomes and expectations of our project
  • Completed and posted our first blog post

Week 2 (September 26th-30th)


  • The objective of this week was to to meet with our community partner.
  • Edit first blog posting for second revision.


  • Half of our group (those that were available to meet) met with Robin Ryan, our community partner, on Monday the 26th.
  • Our group established what exactly is expected of us for this project from the Breakfast Club of Canada.
  • We established a good starting relationship with our community partner.
  • We answered all of the lingering questions we had before beginning the actual project.
  • We worked towards editing our first blog post in order to correct the areas in which we lost marks.

Week 3 (October 3rd- October 7th)


  • Finish the final project proposal on Oct 3rd, and then revise project proposal after receiving feedbacks from TA
  • Each group member finishes Tutorial Course on Research Ethics.
  • Contact community partner and set a specific time and date to visit schools participating in the Breakfast Club of Canada program


  • Submitted the final project proposal on connect. Clearly knowing group objectives, methods that we are using to collect data and the aim of the project.
  • Submitted individual Tutorial Course on Research Ethics on connect.

Week 4 (October 10th – 14th)


  • Get started on and submit the second blog post


  • Confirmed the dates of Alderson Elementary school visit with Robin Ryan which are Oct 24th and Oct 25th.

 Moment of Significance


On Monday, September 26th three members of our group had the opportunity to meet with Robin Ryan, the community leader for our project. Unfortunately, only half of our group was available to meet. During this meeting, we discussed both his and our expectations for the project. We were able to learn more about Robin’s goals for the project, and we were given the opportunity to understand why this project is being piloted in the first place. Furthermore, Robin provided us with some history of the organization, to help us understand what the Breakfast Club has accomplished and what they are still out to achieve. To our surprise, Robin ensured our group was interested and engaged in the assignment by giving us the choice of our project for the semester; he wanted this to be a collaboration. Together we developed a rough timeline for the semester, and these dates were confirmed as hard deadlines via email.  The meeting was inspiring because of Robin’s passion that he displayed both for his job and the organization.

So What?

Meeting Robin gave us the opportunity to develop a relationship with our community leader. We were able to demonstrate our own excitement about the project which cannot always be conveyed via email. It was important for us to see how passionate Robin is about this project and understand the reasons behind why this project is being established.

Talking to Robin, we were able to understand the dynamics of the relationship between  Breakfast Club of Canada (BCC) and the schools in which they support. This is useful to use as insight when we have personal interactions with the Northern BC communities we are studying. In the Ted Talk  “Want to help someone? Shut up and Listen!”, Ernesto Sirolli discusses the importance of listening to the needs of individuals in the community before trying to help, instead of jumping to your own conclusions (2012). This is a goal that Robin and the BCC team, hope to accomplish and instill in others. In order for the BCC to provide feedback to schools, it is important to acknowledge the different circumstances and situations experienced by residents of different communities (i.e what access they have to large grocers, how much does their food actually cost). These circumstances influence where money is allocated, the kinds of foods that are purchases, and how they source their food. Once we have established the Why behind a problem, then we are able to develop long-term solutions. We are fortunate to have a group with different ethnic backgrounds, and academic majors because we bring forth different knowledge and problem solving skills. Through our meeting with Robin we were able to establish a relationship between the organization and our group, which has made it easy to approach him with questions and collaborate on the structure of the project.

Now What?

With an established timeline, now have clear expectations set between our group and the BCC. We have received the receipts from Robin, which will be used to analyze how money is spent by each school. Over the course of the next few weeks we will build profiles for each school breaking their spending down in categories of: food groups, store, quantity, and cost. We will be organizing a follow-up meeting with Robin in the week of the 22nd to review our progress and feedback.

Because of the excitement Robin saw we had in the project, he set up two visits two schools where we will be able to see the breakfast programs in action. This will be happening on the 24th and 25th of October (we will be going in groups of 3). Moving forward, it is important to anticipate the presence of challenges and problems that may arise. As Tim Harford explains in his Ted Talk, “How messy problems can inspire creativity”, problems should not always be looked at as aversive elements to a project. He discusses that although often times people tend to avoid or steer away from issues, sometimes facing these problems head on is the best way to work through them. He talks about how problem solving is usually thought of as a step by step process through which a conclusion is achieved by marginal gains. The issue with this is that marginal gains can sometimes guide you, very slowly, down a dead end. He suggest that a better way to problem solve is to “add a dash of mess” (Harford, 2015). He explains that taking unpredictable, random steps at the beginning actually reduces the chances of finding yourself stuck at a dead end. Our group will attempt to use problem solving strategy in challenges we face over the coming months. Our group is committed to maintaining open communication within our group, as well as with our community project leader as we have experienced much success to date.

Upcoming Objectives and Strategies


  • Receive the complete profile of school receipts from Robin. Enter and organize the data into a spreadsheet based on the quantity, cost and the store the food item is purchased from
  • Visit schools that are supported by the BCC and gain a better understanding of how the breakfast program runs through schools


  • Efficiently subdivide tasks to maximize our efficiency
  • Continue regular communication with Robin Ryan to update him on our progress and obtain feedback
  • Divide our group into two groups composed of three people to visit Alderson Elementary school on Oct 24th and Oct 25th , through these visits our group members can observe how an ideal breakfast program functions.
  • Assign each group member with schools to enter the corresponding data into the Google spreadsheet


Our group has had some great experiences these past few weeks: meeting our community partner, laying out our plans and crafting a proposal, and spending time as a group to digest the course material. We now have a concrete vision for our project. We know the importance of dealing with messy situations, listening to community members, and taking ethics into consideration. Stay tuned for our future objectives as we continue to grow and develop our project and ourselves!


Siroli, E. (2012, November 26). Want to help someone? Shut up and listen! [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chXsLtHqfdM

Harford, T. (2016). How messy problems can inspire creativity. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jd_j_kw_jZQ



“A child’s body needs nutrition, not just food.”  – Julie Webb Kelley

Have you ever been in work or in class and heard your stomach rumble? In that moment all you can think of is “When is my next meal?” “What can I get on my break?” “Where is the closest food outlet?” “How am I going to make it through the next 45 minutes?”. These are not worries that a child should have. Being able to listen, absorb information, stay engaged are what children should be focused on, and it is what the Breakfast Club of Canada (BCC) is out to accomplish. As the BCC would say “Children should go to school hungry for knowledge not for food”.


Chloe Slessor:

I am currently in my third year here at UBC studying Applied Animal Biology in the Land and Food Systems faculty. I have always had a passion for animals and therefore, took an interest in biology quite young. I have a dog at home who’s almost 11. His name is Toddy and he’s a soft coated wheaten terrier. I have also always had a big interest in horses as my mum used to ride when we lived in England. I picked up riding a few years ago back in Montreal and ride an amazing 17 year old horse called Porto. My sister still rides quite a bit out at the barn so I spend a decent amount of time during the summer out there helping to clean stalls ascreen-shot-2016-09-21-at-1-21-10-pmnd groom the horses. Asides from animals, I have always had a side interest in law. Interestingly enough, I plan on going to law school once my undergrad is completed. I hope to find a career that combines law as well as animal welfare. I would really like to spend the rest of
my career working to improve the conditions that many animals in captivity live in and feel as if I am making a difference to better their lives.

Yining (Angela) An:

I am a third year student studying Nutritional Science at UBC. During FNH 250 lecture, I learned how macronutrient and micronutrient intake influence human health, as well as disscreen-shot-2016-09-21-at-1-24-22-pmeases caused by deficient or excessive intake. This course inspired me to learn more about how nutrients uptake relates to our body, and also this course let me make my mind to major in nutritional science. During last reading break, I volunteered at Flourance Nightingale Elementary, which aimed at educating kids what is a healthy breakfast should be and why we are supposed to consume less unhealthy food. Through this experience
I realized that kids can concentrate more on study if they consume a nutritious breakfast, and this is the main reason why I would like to be a part of this program. I hope I can use what I learned from lectures into real life in order to help people around me and also myself to improve the quality of our life.
Mercy Wanalo:

I am a third year student pursuing a Bsc degree in Food Nutrition and Health. Before commencing my studies at the University of British Columbia, I volunteered with the Nutrition Department of a local public hospital in Kisumu Kenya for three months. During that time, I worked closely with expectingscreen-shot-2016-09-21-at-1-29-04-pm and lactating mothers, and children under five years of age, providing nutritional advice, assessing malnutrition, promoting breastfeeding, family planning and other healthy behaviours. These experiences prompted me to realize the precarious situations in which low income families find themselves and inspired me to pursue a career in health nutrition in order to focus on improving healthcare quality. I like to think of myself as an adventurer because I get thrilled by exciting experiences whether it’s skydiving or skinny dipping or taking a trip across the world, you name it and I am your girl. I enjoy spending time with people although it doesn’t always seem like it until I get comfortable with an individual. I guess this would be partly because I come from a relatively big family. I am the youngest in a family of 6 and so I did spend a significant amount of time in my childhood around people. Of late I have discovered that I actually do find so much pleasure in seeing things come to life like say seeing a project that I am working on or an event that I am organizing as part of my involvements on campus materialize. In my free time I bike around campus or take a trip to the beach or watch my favorite TV shows. I also tend to spend a significant amount of time on Youtube. I am really excited about this project and am certain that my teammates and I will learn a lot and have fun while at it.

Nika Maghsoud:
I’m a third year student in the Food, Health and Nutrition major at UBC. I was born in Iran and moved to Canada at the age of 10. I pursued this major because I am very passionate about nutrition and health. I hope to reduce food insecurity and food related health isscreen-shot-2016-09-21-at-1-35-24-pmsues around the world through the knowledge I gain in this major. Every year I visit Iran and witness many families undergo food insecurity, and I am very motivated to reduce food insecurity around the world.  I enjoy playing sports such tennis and volleyball and dedicate lots of time to my fitness. I train at the gym at least three times a week to attain a fit and healthy body; working out also reduces my stress and boosts my mood. I love meeting new people because I believe every new acquaintance allows me to gain valuable and unique knowledge. Equality in any aspect around the world such as gender, health, and food is very important to me. I’m eager to try as hard as I can to increase food security in my community through this project because I believe every child deserves food security.

Claire O’Brien: 

I’m currently in 4th year of the Global Resources Program , with a focusscreen-shot-2016-09-21-at-1-30-51-pm on sustainable agriculture. Growing up on the west coast of Vancouver Island surrounded by old growth rainforest instilled a love for nature in me at a young age, which has now evolved into a passion for conservation. What I love about my university program is that it allows a blending of sciences and humanities, an interdisciplinary approach often breeds diverse solutions to complex

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-1-33-43-pmKate Stafford:

I am a UBC student studying  Food Nutrition and Health. Some of my interests include cooking, running, skiing, and fashion. The reason I chose to be part of the Breakfast Club of Can
ada is because of the impact I believe starting everyday with a healthy Breakfast has. It is the meal that restarts up your metabolism and gives you energy that you carry with you for the rest of the day. For students it is so important to eat breakfast before going to school because it helps children learn, stay engaged, and attentive throughout their day. The Breakfast club of Canada is supporting the development and growth of students across Canada, and I am so excited to be a part of it and see how I can make a difference in this organization.

US AS A GROUP (Interests, Goals, Reasons for Choosing Project & What We Wish to Gain): 

As a group, we are all extremely excited to be working with the Breakfast Club of Canada organization. Coming from diverse backgrounds, we all have different reasons for finding an interest in this project. Whether it be from previous experience working with kids or coming from a background of nutrition, we are all eager to get involved. It is important to us as a group that kids are receiving proper nutrition due to the fact that they are still in their developmental stages of life. It is at a young age when we start to develop eating habits that follow us through life. Therefore, we are all extremely excited to be involved in a project that we hope has a severe impact on the future of these children. As students, we understand the importance that a good breakfast has. Beginning your day with a healthy, nutritious meal sets you up to stay engaged and attentive throughout the day. Being lucky enough to have access to healthy meals at any time is a luxury that we try not to take for granted. This project gives us all the opportunity to gain a better understanding of food insecurity that many families face across Canada. We are also interested in gaining insight into a new food system in a non-profit organization. Another goal for our group is the improvement of data collection skills, communication and group work.  All in all, we hope to gain some hands-on experience working in the community with such a great organization and to provide concrete help to the community.

WHAT ARE WE UP TO? (Project Objectives and Our Community Organization):

Our project involves a partnership with a well-established organization, the Breakfast Club of Canada (BCC). The BCC is a non-profit organization operating on a national scale, feeding healthy breakfasts to more than 150 000 students each school day. The BCC is run by only 8 full-time staff members, despite operating across all of Canada. Their cause is aided by the fact that their staff all have diverse backgrounds, but all share the same mission (Medin, Lee & Bang, 2014). They aim to improve issues such as access, affordability, and stability which many children, especially those from First Nations and immigrant families, face every day. Kids who have access to a healthy breakfast each morning have been shown to perform better in school, and may develop good eating habits in the future. Nearly 1 million children cannot get a nutritious breakfast before they go to school every morning. The Breakfast Club’s mission is to decrease this number and give every child an equal shot at success!

Our overall objective will be to work with Robin Ryan on a project he is currently running which involves building spending profiles for 15 schools in Northern BC. We will achieve this through analyzing spending receipts collected by the Breakfast Club. The receipts will be used to build profiles for each school to display their spending patterns and habits. We are interested in looking at the specific foods being bought, money allocation between food groups, as well as the differences between food prices among stores that schools have access too. We will then use asset-based community development strategies to suggest better strategies for the BCC to help more kids get access to a nutritious breakfast (Mathie & Cunningham, 2003). Furthering the project, we are interested in helping educate those at these schools on what they should be buying for the breakfast programs. Though this we are trying to incorporate the diversity of majors into our project with the Breakfast Club. By educating schools and developing meal plans we will be able to assist in the efficiency of how money is being spent, while still giving the children a nutritious meal. This educational step is seen as being part of stage one of the evidence-based strategy of building a community. This stage is commonly referred to as the initial food systems change (McCullum et. al., 2005).


In addition to these more immediate objectives, we will also keep in mind some larger-scale goals. We hope that our short term goals and findings from the project will help us attain these more overarching goals:

  • Strengthen ongoing efforts of breakfast provision to school going children
  • Curb food insecurity
  • Increase the number of children reached every year
  • Foster good eating habits among children across Canada


Our group members are coming from a variety of backgrounds, major and places around the world. There is cultural diversity in our group as our members all come from different cities and countries such as Scotland, Vancouver Island, Toronto, Kenya, China and Iran. In our group there is also a diversity of majors, and having read the scientific American article, we are aware that this is an advantage. This will allow our group to have diverse perspectives and goals and allow us to have a variety of objectives which are as a result of multiple perspectives (Medin et. al, 2014). Having read this article our group instantly realized the diversity among our group members and the advantage it had for us which was wonderful in our first group meeting.

As of today, we have contacted our organization to set up an in-person meeting, and we are in correspondence to confirm the date. However, watching the Ted Talk by Ernesto Sirolli gave our group a new awareness of the mindset that we should have going into the meeting with our organization affiliate. The Ted Talk expressed the idea of entering a conversation where you assume you know the problems and answers that a community is dealing with, and not being present to what the community needs. After watching this video, we understand the actions we take for Breakfast Club Canada in accordance with the community should be inspired by their goals and needs. We have also learned that when working with our community partner we need to ensure that we are actively listening to their needs and situation, as opposed to listening to our perceived constraints of the community. No one knows a community better than the people who inhabit it, thus following their wants and needs can helpful to  avoid problems, and roadblocks that may otherwise arise. In the context of the Breakfast Club Canada, our group is focused on actively listening to the goals of the organization, and understanding how we can help in the success of them. Using the concept of “shut-up and listen” introduced by Ernesto Sirolli , we are able to understand the previous work the Breakfast Club Canada has done for the community, where they are at in their current projects, and what they see as possible future endeavours.


All in all, the excitement we have for this project is beyond explanation. There is such a large opportunity here to make a real, concrete difference in the lives of quite a few children. It is at this young age that these kids will be learning eating habits that follow them throughout their lifetime. We hope you are just as excited as we are to embark on this project together!

Our group is up to change the lives of students across Canada, starting with Northern BC. No more Eggo waffles and Poptarts, bring on the homemade granola bars, eggs and bacon. Not only do we have the chance to improve the health of kids through more nutrient dense meals, we are giving students the resources to do better in school and providing school faculties with meal and finance plans. Childhood is when the foundation of your long-term habits are built, so why not build healthy ones. Stay tuned for our next blog post, to see what’s for breakfast in North BC.


Alison Mathie & Gord Cunningham (2003) From clients to citizens: Asset-based Community Development as a strategy for community-driven development, Development in Practice, 13:5, 474-486

Medin, D., Lee, C. D., & Bang, M. (2014). Point of View Affects How Science Is Done. Retrieved September 23, 2016, from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/point-of-view-affects-how-science-is-done/

Mccullum, Christine, Ellen Desjardins, Vivica I. Kraak, Patricia Ladipo, and Helen Costello. “Evidence-based Strategies to Build Community Food Security.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 105.2 (2005): 278-83. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.

“Our Mission.” Breakfast Club Canada. N.p., 2016. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.

Phillips, K. W. (2014). How Diversity Makes Us Smarter. Retrieved August 24, 2016, from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-diversity-makes-us-smarter/


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