Thanks Everyone


Welcome to the last blog of the project! It has been a long semester, with lots of hard work, but it was fun and it was worth it. We have almost wrapped up our project with the food bank! Having finished our infographic, we now have the report left, where we will outline our process, results, and conclusion in detail.

As the saying goes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  As a group, we have had many significant moments throughout the course of the project.The weakness of some were covered by the strength of others, and in the end, we learned to overcome some of our flaws we had before coming together. Here we will outline our hurdles in constructing a policy suggestion for the food bank.



Our most significant moment once we had summarized and analyzed our product data was choosing our suggested distribution range. Looking at the data, we found a steep incline once the policy was reduced to anything less than 8 months past the best-before-date. Changing the policy to 12 months past the best-before-date to 8 months showed a product loss of 8%, which would be only 3% over the initial 5% of product loss. We settled on 8 months, as it is a 4 month improvement for members, without a substantial increase in product loss.

We also struggled with the amount of product loss that would be “acceptable.” The balance between product loss and shortening the best-before-date to make for happier members is a tricky seesaw. The food bank has equal responsibility in catering to food disposal ethics, as well as juggling member concerns.

Overall, the experience was quite pleasant working with the food bank, as well as Erin and Kevin, the community partners. It was quite pleasing to see how thorough the inspections were with the donated foods, as to make sure that the donated foods were not damaged, contaminated or expired. But overall, learning about how the food bank works, and seeing how many people it contributes has been a real eye opener. As a group, we learned to be more thoughtful to what we donate to food drives, and we have also portrayed that message to others during our presentation.


So What?

The suggestion had a couple accompanied implications. For example, the difference of 4 months (12 months to 8 months) may not make a difference to members. For them, past the best-before-date may just simply be past the best-before date, no matter how many months past.

Similarly, our data might not be an accurate representation of what the food bank receives as the food bank receives a wide variety of products each month, which is a well-known limitation to our project. For example, some of the streams that we wished to analyze did not donate any products in the month of February. This meant that their data was exempt from our project, although the data may have been valuable, and potentially may have shifted our conclusion substantially.

Now What?

A policy suggestion that moves members towards receiving products closer to their best-before-date is a success in and of itself, especially when the product loss difference is quite trivial at 3%.

This policy suggestion brought us into raising other questions, though. For example, as a group, we realized that member education of the difference between best-before-date and expiry date is crucial to their understanding of receiving products that are past their best-before-date. This project was brought to light due to members having concerns whenever products past their BBDs are distributed. But some members might be okay with the current policy the food bank posses, and could potentially think that throwing out the extra products with the new policy suggestion might be a waste of perfectly good food.

Some other consequences would be having to deal with the increased disposal of canned foods if the food bank does adopt the policy suggestion. Resources such as manual labour and financial aspects goes into the disposal of canned goods  as a separate company has to dispose the unusable food.


An Update On Our Progress

We have had some exciting advancements in our project. We have now received the full set of data from the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, outlining all the information on the best-before-dates of all the products that was received in February. Our policy suggestion can now be built on, as our group has derived an effective way to analyze this data. Although our project with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank is coming to an end, there is a lot of work set out for us within the next month. Given we are on the home stretch, we may potentially have a project scope change (University of British Columbia, 2018), in which we may deviate from our initial project proposal when taking into account our limitations, such as time or resources.

Weekly Objectives & Achievements

  • Will analyze the best-before-date data and determine the amount of products that will be affected with associated policy changes
  • Will create graphs to show how each food bank stream will be affected if the policy were to be shortened
  • Will create our infographic that allows visual elements to represent the relevant information
  • Will begin to think about how we can adequately relay our research to the audience that we may be presenting to
  • Will start on writing the report and effective communication skills, focusing on coherence of our ideas and concepts
  • Will keep in touch with Erin, Kevin, and the rest of the food bank to update them and ask any questions we may have concerning the data

Moment of Significant Change Workshop

During our tutorial, we had the chance to do a “Moments of Significant Change” workshop, in which we got together as a group and did some reflections on the knowledge, experience, and skills we have learned from this course and how do we feel about these changes. Every group member shared moments of significant change related to our Best-before date project in a short form. We chose 8 events that reflect the most significant changes. Individuals ranking were incorporated into the Figure 1.

The “What?”

After starting our project for about 2 months, being able to overcome some challenges as group, we mediated on the moment of significant change diagram. Figure 1 and Figure 2 below are the graphs we drew together in our tutorial.

The “So What?”

The dotted lines at the end of those two graphs stand for our future experience before the end of our project. Which will be a good note when we finalize our project and prepare for the final presentation. These activities allow us to evaluate our current project performance and think about points of improvements. It also gives us a chance to address unexpected issues.

Figure 1. Moments of significance regarding emotion change.

This graph shows our fluctuating feeling of our six group members (each colour corresponds to a different group member) until Feb 27 of this project (events are in chronological order). The vertical axis indicates the levels of emotions, from feeling happy to sad. At the beginning of this project, most of us didn’t have any strong feelings about this project, however there was an overall increased rating after our first group meeting, which continued until our first visit to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank and first data collection. In the middle of February, the feelings of our group members began to diverge. This could be explained by our different schedules with classes, work and extracurricular activities. Midterms is an important factor for our decreased emotional levels during the time of our blog posts and proposal report. Understanding the data was the lowest point of our feeling, as we were overwhelmed by the data and confused about how we could use the data to get some useful conclusions.

Learning about how to interpret the data was a significant moment for many of us. As both Shulman (2005) and Harford (2016) emphasized, this uncertainty and “messiness” allowed us to exercise our creativity in order to determine how we will analyze the data. This creativity allowed us to come to a resolution by thinking differently, and adapting to one another’s thought process.

Figure 2. Moments of significance regarding knowledge levels.

This graph shows the moments of significance regarding the facts, knowledge and skills we have learned from this course. Each week brought different challenges. All of our group members were very much in agreement with our significant changes as indicated by the graph. All of us have felt  increased significance from learning about the Greater Vancouver Food Bank to learning how to collect data because most of us never had the chance to get to know the details about the GVFB and blogging was new to all of us.

Now what?

However, our significance toward learning how to write a proposal started decreasing since this was not the first time for us to write a proposal, we have all written some proposals before taking this course. After that, our moments of significance started to rise when we were learning how to read the data sheet. Although all of our group members knew something about Excel, we have learned more about understanding the meanings behind those numbers.

Strategy for Project Completion (Graceful Dismount)

As the term drew to a close, we do not have much time to complete the project. By the act of reflection, we should not always be scrambling last minute to submit our assignments and do our work. Besides, our communication on social platform did not work very well. It will be really tough to work as a group if we lack communication and cannot ensure that everyone is on the same page.

In order to better complete the later work, we have come up with some strategies listed below:

  • Find time outside of class to interpret the data we obtained in February using Excel, and sort out our problems
  • May have our interpreted data checked by community partner, and draw conclusion for our project.
  • Have good communication within the group. Check group chat regularly and response more timely.
  • Set our own deadlines ahead of time, leaving more time for peer feedback and revise.
  • Understand the requirements and tasks need to do for final report and presentation.
  • Assign tasks to each group member more fairly, and help out each other.
  • Consult with our community partner and TA for feedbacks and suggestion, if need be.


Harford, T. (2016). Ted Talk: How Frustration Can Make Us More Creative. Retrieved from

Shulman, L. S. (2005). Pedagogies of uncertainty. Liberal Education, 91(2), 18–25. Retrieved from

University of British Columbia. (2018). LFS 350: Session 8. Retrieved from


Project Proposal and Progress

We have all thoroughly enjoyed the course of our project with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. It was great to meet and work with the team at the food bank, as well as share ideas and methods for how we could build on the best-before-date policy development. The food bank affects many people, and we have been grateful to take part in such an important venture for the organization.

We recently wrote a project proposal for the food bank, outlining what they can expect from our group, and what we wish to accomplish.

Click here to see our project proposal. (or here)

Figure 1. Food products that need to be added into the data set.

Weekly Objectives

  • Will continue keeping in touch with Erin and determine the next step for our project.
  • Will estimate the number of food that will be eliminated if the accepted distribution date is shortened, based on category and rank of food products’ nutritional quality given by software.
  • Will determine the number of the items that are left will be of “nutritional quality” and the effect on each food category inventory.
  • Will acquire permission to take photos of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank’s interior and exterior for use in group blog and following assignments of the Land & Food Systems 350 course, for instance, final report and presentation.

Achievements to Date (Feb 28, 2018)

  • Completed our project proposal for food bank and got it reviewed by TA. Please check the link above and feel free to leave some comments!
  • Finished scanning and collecting best-before date for 400 food products from each in-bound stream with the help of Erin and Kelvin throughout the month.
  • Manually entered nutrition data shown on the nutrients fact table and ingredients listed on the exterior package for those food products not in the existing database.
  • Obtained data sheet, which includes information of products we have scanned so far, from Kevin.

Moment of Significance

Figure 2. Moments of Significance Graph from Tutorial.

The workshop in our tutorial allowed us to reflect on the specific moments that have occurred throughout the course of the project, and how they affected each of our group members.

What: We all agreed that our moment of significance as a team was receiving our data collection, which we had been building on during the month of February as we scanned items to add into the database. We received an excel sheet that included descriptions of the items, such as the “as_id” that highlights which stream the item belongs to, the “p_id” that shows what the product is based on the system database, a rank ID which shows the nutritional rank, and the product size. We were initially feeling stuck, and relatively overwhelmed, in how we would use this information in order to apply the information to the policy development.

So What: Understanding the data that we had acquired allowed us to develop our skill development, and we began thinking about how we will use this data to help refine the GVFB policy. It taught us that in order to understand something complex, we need to break it down into its components, which is what we did for each of the given ID numbers. As a group, collaborative thinking is important in order to determine how this information will be used efficiently.

Now What: We must now figure out how to use this data set. Communication is key as we govern how the given data set will be used in order for us to create and support the best-before-date policy, which is the most important aspect of our project with the GVFB. Our group would like to achieve the most successful outcome possible. Going forward, we will focus on the specific aspects of the project, starting with how much food waste will be of consequence now that we are eliminating a fraction of food that the food banks distribute to its members.

Figure 3. Kevin working on the data set.

Upcoming Objectives and Strategies

  • Now that we have our data collected, we can use the information given to us by the GVFB and determine the effects of shortening the date of which food is distributed due to  the best before date by 12 months.
  • This would include how much food waste would result and and how it would affect all the members that are currently associated with the food bank. We can use the data set to figure out how much food would not be given out and compare to the previous policy, where the best before date of food distribution has not changed.
  • Interpreting the data set and understanding all of its content will give us an idea of how to project the information to the audience.
  • Keeping in touch with our community members and continue to be involved in the group activities will greatly help in understanding of the data set. As a team, we will collaborate all our skills and ideas to improve in efficiency and to optimise results.


All pictures are permitted by GVFB.


An Introduction To Our Project


We are Group #6, and our group members include Lisa Leslie, Ivy Zhao, Zixi Qi, Al Daquioag, Size Chen, and Yu Zhang. We are taking on the Greater Vancouver Food Bank project, which will be assessing and acknowledging practices regarding the best-before-date inventory of the food bank.

About The Project

We have chosen to take on the project with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, where we will be assessing and acknowledging practices regarding best-before-date and nutritional quality of non-perishable goods. We will be performing a nutrition analysis using a sample size of 450 units from each of the food bank’s sources of food items in order to assess the best-before-dates of the inventory. We hope to create a better understanding of how a change in policy regarding distribution of foods past the best-before-dates will affect the quantity of the inventory. The outcome of this project will allow for an improved exchange mechanism for food in order to build a stronger community.

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank (GVFB) is a nonprofit organization that works together with others in the food system to support healthy food for all. This includes the right to choose nutritious and safe food with dignity and respect. The mission of the GVFB is to create empowering environments that provide and promote access to healthy food education and training. While the GVFB continue to provide assistance to help address the immediate needs of the community, they also recognize that emergency food as a stand-alone is not a long-term solution. In 2013, they completed the organization’s first strategic plan and are moving beyond food in isolation into a model that helps foster a path towards self-sufficiency. The development of this strategic plan is an example of what we have learned in LFS 350, Asset-based Community Development (ABCD), they have built and served the community. The food bank is a critical component for the “food justice” system as the food bank recognizes the right for food for all members and branched organizations, working to provide communal support. 


First Impressions

During our first encounter with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, we were very surprised to see how the concepts we have learned from LFS could be applied in the real world. First hearing of the concepts in class, it is difficult to truly apply these ideologies until we are exposed to community-based experiences. For example, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank put food security issues in perspective for many of us. Over 6,000 members receive goods from the food bank each week, and the food bank also supports over 75 organizations. Additionally, the amount of goods stored in the warehouse was surprising to us, as crates upon crates line the walls. Many of us were also shocked to see the amount of non-food items that are stored within the warehouse, such as cleaning supplies and personal hygiene products. Moreover, the food bank team highlighted the importance of our project, and the significant meaning of the outcome of our research. To move incrementally towards all foods distributed on or before best-before date we must first understand its impact on our food supply. We felt quite shocked to realize the true impact our project will have.

Lisa, a co-worker from the warehouse, gave us a general introduction to this project. She said this project aims to grade food products from the nutrition perspective. Since there are thousands and random products, there is no possible way for volunteers to check every single product that came into the warehouse. Statistic program is used to value the percentage of the population that received the products and people’s nutrition status. Results reflected the nutritional value of the whole donated products. So far, volunteers have already looked at 400 products in each inbound streams (there are five inbound streams of total donations). Lisa mentioned that food bank receives food from different places, like industrial donations and donation bin at Safeway or Walmart.  For all Donations in each of the way, volunteers have to make a sample size of 400 products per months per stream. This project suggests the dignity and trust between the food bank and the community receivers. It also shows the potential impact of the food level when we shift 12 months best-before date to a shorter period.  

About Us

From left to right: Group members Al Daquioag, Yu Zhang, Ivy Zhao, Size Chen, Erin Nichols (Food Quality and Sustainability Manager at the Greater Vancouver Food Bank), Lisa Leslie, and Zixi Qi

Our group interests include a shared passion for the global food and health system, as well as sustainability of our resources. From this experience, we collectively hope to understand how the quantity of food in inventory may be affected by policy changes pertaining to the acceptable time frame of which food or beverages may be distributed past the best-before-date. This includes becoming familiar with various best-before-date formats used across Canada. The project is also a great opportunity for our group members to develop our report writing skills, data collection skills, and communication skills.

Lisa Leslie

I am a Food, Nutrition & Health Major, and for as long as I can remember remember, I have always felt as though my purpose was to share my passion of healthy living. Helping others take small steps towards improved nutritive choices in order to better their health has always been one of the greatest feelings for me.  I adore to share my love for food. Growing up, I would take frequent trips to the Philippines, where my mother was born. It was there that I realized the true implications of food insecurity, and subsequent malnutrition. At a very young age, I had come to realize the important of food and nutrition. My ultimate goal in this project is to help the food bank create a policy that will help both the members and the goals of the GVFB. 

Ivy Zhao

I’m a third year student major in Food and Nutritional Science major. However, with my growing interest in nutrition from prior courses, I might switch to Nutritional Sciences major later. Even so, I can’t live without junk food. I guess the time to sacrifice will come if I’m going to step into nutrition area in the future. I go to gym and boxing regularly.

I used to volunteer at The Salvation Army for almost three years and the experience there made me realize how much I love helping others. That is the major reason I chose to work on this project because I believe such non-profit organizations are very valuable for the society to function. I look forward to participating in this project and doing my best to help with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.

Zixi Qi

After joining the food and nutrition training program at Wonkwang University, Korea last summer. I decided to focus on the human nutrition in the further study and transferred from applied biology to nutritional science. It was an excellent experience. The training program contained both practical and lecture-based projects which gave me a general sense of human nutrition and how to determine evidence-based medicine. It made me realize that different nutrition status is a life-long effect and we can reduce some potential deficiency effect by simply changing our intake. I really want to learn more in this project.

Al Daquioag

Ever since I was in highschool, I was always interested in nutrition and health, which inclined me to go into the FNH general program at UBC. I started training in the gym when I was 15 years old in order to lose weight and improve my physical health. That was also the time I started to learn about nutrition and how I quickly fell in love with it.

I have work with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank before and it was such an eye opening experience. I learned new things and it had broadened my perspective about how hard a food bank works to deal with food insecurity. I am hoping that this project can help me learn more about food insecurity, and we can do our part to make sure everyone can get nutritious and affordable food.  

Size Chen

As a third-year student in Food and Nutritional Sciences major, I take a series of food science core courses this year; however, I still have passion for nutrition. To me, food science and nutritional science are somehow associated; they cannot be looked separately. With this best-before date inventory project in cooperation with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, I hope to integrate my studies, gain a broader horizon and also touch more on nutrition perspective of food in the meanwhile. I am willing to put efforts into this project, learn more about best-before date and get to appreciate the complexity of industrial food system.

Yu Zhang

I’m begin to take courses about nutrition this year, and this is my first experience to learn nutrition. I think food science is closely related to nutrition, and I have been curious about what I actually eat for a long time. So I have great passion to learn about food or nutrition. I’m pretty excited in this best before date inventory project since I think it can help me to deeply understand food and can have positive influence for my future food choice. Also, food bank contributes a lot to food security in Canada, it would be a treasurable experience for me to witness how industrial food system works.

Thanks for reading, and we look forward to sharing our experience with our project on this blog.

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