Global Learning London

Food – Teacher Ideas

Teacher Ideas
: lesson plans, schemes of work and projects

Starting points
As a starting point for a topic on Food you could begin by asking the following questions in a class discussion or Philosophy 4 Children session.

  • Do you know which country your food was grown in?
  • Do you know if the person who grew or made your food was paid a fair price?
  • Do you know how the food you buy gets to the shops?
  • Do you know what your food contains?
  • Do you know how many miles your food travelled from where it was grown to the shop where you brought it?
  • Do you know how the animals were treated?

Along with the discussions prompted by these questions you can establish a base-line for an understanding of the global issues associated with the topic of Food amongst your learners by carrying out the following activity from  RISC (2008) How do we know it’s working?  A toolkit for measuring attitudinal change in Global Citizenship from early years to KS5 ISBN 978-1-874709-10-6

Why are people hungry?
This activity is designed to find out what pupils think and know about the causes of hunger around the world and what can be done about it.

The activity can be repeated after a scheme of work to measure impact, progression or attitudinal shift.

Thinking critically about Food

Read the letter to the Guardian below and consider:
What are the main points of the argument here?  Who has made this statement, and why?  Who stands to gain and who stands to lose in this situation?

Back African smallholders, not agribusiness Letter to The Guardian, 8 June 2013

Today sees David Cameron host a “hunger summit” in London, the first in a series of events leading up to the G8 summit in 10 days’ time. The event will include a meeting of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, a private investment initiative launched by the G8 in order to expand the reach of multinational companies into Africa. The UK government has pledged £395m of taxpayers’ money to the scheme.

African civil society groups have condemned the New Alliance as part of a “new wave of colonialism” that will hand over their farmland to foreign investors and destroy their livelihoods. Over 40 companies have signed up to the initiative, including agribusiness giants Monsanto, Syngenta and Diageo, as well as Unilever, whose headquarters are the location of today’s hunger summit.

We stand in solidarity with African civil society in rejecting the New Alliance. We call on the prime minister to withhold the £395m in UK aid money that he has pledged to the initiative, and to invest it instead in support for ecological smallholder farming in Africa. Members of the public are invited to join our protest outside Unilever House at 10am today.
Signed by:

John Hilary War on Want, Kirtana Chandrasekaran Friends of the Earth, Deborah Doane World Development Movement, Martin Drewry Health Poverty Action, Teresa Anderson The Gaia Foundation, Kate Metcalf Women’s Environmental Network, Nick Dearden Jubilee Debt Campaign, Dan Taylor Find Your Feet, Pete Riley GM Freeze,Claire Robinson GMWatch

Analysing Food advertising
Make a collection of various food adverts from newspaper and magazine clippings. You could also include some on-line clips and photographs of street advertising boards or bus adverts.  Include a range of types of adverts eg. adverts for ‘junk’ food, or NGO adverts about poverty and hunger.

Ask KS3 learners to analyse the adverts from a range of perspectives – for example, food industry boss; poor person in the UK; worker on a farm in the country of origin (Colombia for coffee for example); young consumer.

Continue to analyse the information in the advert using the following critical literacy questions:

  • What assumptions does the advert make?
  • What is the advertiser trying to make you feel?
  • What does it make you feel?
  • What are the consequences of buying this product?
  • What will you gain?
  • Who benefits and who loses in the making of this product?
  • Consider all the perspectives on this product which were generated earlier – can you thin or research any further perspectives?

A shopping trolley examined…
Ask learners to keep a record of the food their family buys and/ or consumes over the period of a week. Recreate the layout of a week’s worth of food shopping for an average family, as shown in What the World Eats.

An example produced by a teacher in England may be found half-way down this web-page

Learners can think about different ways of acquiring food, including growing your own, and consider the global issues of food security (access to enough nutritious food to be healthy and strong).  They may consider underinvestment in agriculture and the infrastructure to get food to market, the crisis of milk farming in the UK, the dominance of global food supply chains and the power of the big supermarkets.

Fair Food
Towards the end of a study on the topic of food ask learners to collaborate in teams to produce a dramatisation on a global issue to do with Food.  Themes could include Fair Trade, Food Banks, World Hunger, Food Miles, Global Food Chains, Food Waste or any other global issue your learners can identify.

The groups of learners will need to work together, communicate, debate and present ideas – developing a range of 21st Century skills for the global workplace.  Ask the groups to keep a storyboard for the stages of making the production – from early ideas, to justifying what is included through to the polished end product.

Final productions can be performed for the others in the class, for younger pupils or for the whole school as appropriate.