The essential question for this project was “where does our food come from?”
The project began by filling an entire wall with questions about food, then students categorized the questions and used them as a basis for research.
They learned about different types of food systems, and the people who are important in growing their food.They also explored what happens to food after leaves your plate and goes to a landfill. As part of this, students visited local farms and the local landfill, and had visits from local chefs who taught them cooking techniques. They also visited the school’s new catering service.
Students shared their research in a magazine, Food For Thought: A Magazine about Food Systems By Kids, For Kids. One of the articles was later reprinted in a local San Diego food magazine!
It was powerful to do a project focused on a topic that impacts the students everyday and they had not had the opportunity to dig into before. When I was doing research for the project I couldn’t find any good articles for kids about food systems at a fourth grade reading level. That’s where the idea of making a magazine came from. One powerful part was early on in the project when we covered the back wall in sticky notes with our questions about food. There were so many different topics we could explore and write about! If I could change anything about the project it would have been to do it as a year-long theme rather than a trimester project. It was challenging to fit in an exploration of food systems and then also have the time to create the product. If it was over the course of a year it would allow for a lot more depth of engagement with each aspect of food systems.
I learned that food access is when you have good, healthy food. Food insecurity is when people can’t get access to healthy food.
I learned that farmworkers fight for their rights. They get sick a lot because they are getting sprayed by pesticides.
Click here to read through the full magazine!