Volunteer Profile Series
Over the next couple of months, we will be profiling some of our Growing Chefs! Classroom Gardening Program volunteers. Our amazing volunteers are the foundation of the program. Over the course of three and a half months, our volunteer chefs and community members provide elementary school students the chance to grow their own food and cook it too!
In 2012, we had over 90 volunteers. We think it’s about time we shared their classroom stories with you!
VOLUNTEER: QUEENIE BEI
Volunteer: Queenie Bei, A Rocha – Community Garden Network Coordinator
Classroom Gardening Program School: Vancouver Christian School
What interests you most about food, urban agriculture or food sustainability?
To me, the most important aspect about food is that it is produced within a sustainable food system. I see urban agriculture taking a key part in contributing towards food sustainability. However, I am most passionate about affecting cultural knowledge around food, and this is why I wanted to volunteer with Growing Chefs! in elementary school classrooms. I jumped on the opportunity to help children become more food literate
What was your favourite Growing Chefs classroom moment?
My favourite classroom moment was feeling like a small kid again, sitting on the carpet listening to a storybook read out-loud by one of my team members. The book was ‘Compost Stew’; a fun rhyme-filled book showcasing all the items that are compostable, starting from A to Z! I even learnt that hair is compostable!
What was your favourite classroom activity during your time as volunteer? Why?
Foods with Moods was a highlight for me! Making faces with dried beans and fresh vegetables with the students was really a creative activity. It was fun and required artistic improvisation. I think it’s important for children to learn how to express their emotions, and such a great way using different mediums
What is your favourite dish to cook for yourself?
Cubed firm organic tofu sauté with seasonal vegetables. Use soya sauce and oyster sauce (vegetarian version) to give it a Chinese home-style touch.
If you could be a vegetable or fruit what would you be?
Well, my favourite veggie green is Arugula, so I think of how it can look unassuming but really carries a nutty spicy punch when you eat it! Although not available locally grown, okras are pretty cool too!
If someone wasn’t 100% convinced they should volunteer with Growing Chefs!, what would you tell them?
I would tell them that they would get to meet and work as a team with trained chefs! Getting to know chefs from different restaurants was a neat experience for me.
Want to share your passion for food and sustainability with children? Consider signing up to be one of our Classroom Gardening Program volunteers! Visit our website for more information.