by Karl Meyer, Outreach Team
Frank (Jason Quick, left) and Beans (Della Plaster, right) entertain and educate elementary school kids about nutrition by hosting funny games shows, traveling through time, venturing into outer space, and balancing a healthy diet (on Jason’s chin!)
Have you heard about the Co-op’s successful new outreach program for elementary school children in Whatcom County? “The Real Food Show” is a dynamic school assembly, produced by the Community Food Co-op with the aim to increase nutrition and health knowledge and motivate children to make healthy food and lifestyle choices.
“The Real Food Show” was written by Sam Williams, aka “Smerdyakov” of the Flying Karamazov Brothers, and longtime area performers Della Plaster and Jason Quick. A talented two-member performance team of Bellingham Circus Guild members engages the audience in a series of zany routines and audience participation portraying Frank and Beans—two loveable characters who juggle, joke, and entertain their way across a landscape of nutrition know-how.
“loveable characters juggle, joke and entertain their way across a landscape of nutrition know-how”
The show’s theme is centered on a colorful banner displaying the balanced food plate—familiar to most school kids—that depicts the portion of each healthy meal that should be made up of vegetables, fruits, grains, and proteins. In some skits, Frank and Beans are hosts of healthy food-themed game shows, and students are the contestants. Other skits involve viewing the vegetable portions on the plate from space, traveling back in time for a healthy breakfast, organic vegetables appearing out of a hat.
Every student is sent home with a table placemat chock full of fun food-related puzzles, games, and jokes (Q: What vegetable should you never take on a boat? A: A leek), plus links to other healthy food organizations. Students are encouraged to share information from the placemat, and what they learned at the assembly, with their family at the dinner table.
This show has now been performed at 43 Whatcom, Skagit, and other Washington state elementary schools. It has been enthusiastically received and seen by over 15,000 kids. So, the next time you’re gathered around the table ask your kids if they’ve yet had the pleasure of meeting Frank and Beans and experiencing “The Real Food Show.”
Values in Action
The development of “The Real Food Show” is part of the Community Food Co-op’s goal to provide healthy food access for all, and contributes to our value of supporting the community and sharing honest information.