Food Eco-Audit

Food Eco-Audit

Essential questions: 
How does our school compare to other schools around the world in terms of the healthfulness of the food served to students and staff?
Do our school’s policies consider the environmental impact of the food purchased for the cafeteria, such as the amount of packaging used and whether the food was grown using sustainable methods?
How much of the food served in our school is grown locally?
How knowledgeable are members of our school community about the connections between academic performance and eating nutritious food?
What can we do collectively to reduce food waste on campus?
Can students conducting a food eco-audit truly help improve the school?
What key strategies can we use to implement our food-policy suggestions on campus?
How does an eco-audit create opportunities for leadership and citizenship?

Estimated total time needed: Ten 55-minute class periods

This module contains the following lessons:

Lesson 1: Eco-Action: School Food Eco-Audit: Exploring (Estimated time needed: Two 55-minute class periods)
This lesson begins with an introduction to green schools and a discussion about the benefits of a campus food audit. Then students investigate and document factors related to food on campus: the sources and nutritional content of the food served, how much prepackaged food is purchased and consumed, and how much food-related waste is generated.

Lesson 2: Eco-Action: School Food Eco-Audit: Analyzing (Estimated time needed: Two 55-minute class periods)
In this lesson, students use the data they gathered in Lesson 1 to note trends in the way food is supplied to and consumed on campus and how food waste is disposed of on campus. They do research and interview campus personnel to find answers to questions and to address gaps in their data. Then they analyze the data they’ve gathered, reflect on its importance, and begin considering ideas for improving food issues on campus.

Lesson 3: Eco-Action: School Food Eco-Audit: Wrapping Up (Estimated time needed: Three 55-minute class periods)
In this lesson, students synthesize their data and ideas from Lesson 2. They share their results with the class and evaluate the effectiveness of the eco-audit. Students strategize as a class and then work in small groups to plan how to recommend and promote progressive changes to more effectively manage food on campus.

Lesson 4: Eco-Action: Food Data Is Beautiful! (Estimated time needed: Three 55-minute class periods)
In this lesson, students learn how to communicate their campus food management recommendations to administrators, the student body, and beyond. They learn strategies for presenting data in interesting, relevant, and visually appealing ways, such as through infographics. Then students take the information they collected and analyzed in Lessons 1–3 and create a plan for communicating their recommendations to campus administrators, parents, students, and others. Finally, students execute their plans by writing letters to administrators, creating a showcase presentation of their findings, writing and performing public service announcements, and implementing concrete student action plans.