The Real Food Show

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!).

By Karl Meyer, Outreach Coordinator

Community Food Co-op in Bellingham, WA, is excited about its 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.

Co-written by Sam Williams, aka “Smerdyakov” of Flying Karamazov Brothers fame, and Della Plaster of the Bellingham Circus Guild, the show is a series of zany routines and audience participation. Della and fellow Bellingham Circus Guild regular Jason Quick portray Frank and Beans—two loveable characters who 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, and a humorous exercise routine that concludes with Frank juggling bowling balls.

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.

Since the show launched in 2014, The Real Food Show has now performed more than 100 shows for more than 70 schools and special events, with five fellow food co-ops in the region joining in sponsoring performances. In 2020, the co-op began promoting a recorded version (see video below) as a distance learning resource for children staying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find up to date information on the show and how to bring the live show to your community at

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 their value of supporting the community and sharing honest information.

Republished with permission from Community Food Co-op (Bellingham).