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Food For the Future

5, 6
Essential questions
Where does my food come from?
What is industrial agriculture?
What is sustainable agriculture?
What is agricultural diversity, or agrobiodiversity, and why is it important?
How could a seed bank help us protect agricultural diversity?
Why are some people in the world hungry on a regular basis?
What is food security?
What can we do to help alleviate hunger?

This module includes the following lessons:

Lesson 1: Eco-101: Where Does Our Food Come From? Estimated time needed: At least two 55-minute sessions (You may prefer to allow more time so students can more fully explore the issues.)
In the first session of the lesson, students delve into the history of agriculture to learn about how humans have fed themselves over the last few thousand years. They also discover that agriculture has changed dramatically in the last few decades, producing a Green Revolution that has had positive and negative effects. Students then explore key elements of sustainable agriculture and how it has been used successfully for thousands of years. In the second session, students are challenged to synthesize and apply what they’ve learned as they role-play delegates from the United Nations. They work in teams to analyze the specific circumstances of their assigned nation and then recommend either that their nation’s leaders sign or do not sign a treaty committing their nation to using 60 percent sustainable farming methods by 2030.

Lesson 2: Eco-Activity: Seed Bank Challenge (Estimated time needed: Two 55-minute sessions)
In this lesson, students learn how something very small—a seed—can have tremendous value to human societies. Through two thought exercises, the lesson guides students to appreciate the tremendous diversity of foods we have today and to consider what life might be like without such diversity. Then they go on a virtual exploration of the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard, Norway, and learn where other seed banks are located around the world and the valuable function seed banks serve. Finally, each student researches a crop plant they particularly value and together they create their own classroom seed bank.

Lesson 3: Eco-Action: Hunger and Harvest (Estimated time needed: Two 55-minute sessions)
In this lesson, students experience firsthand what it is like to feel hungry while seeing that other people have greater access to food. By simulating a global lunch, with offerings representing undeveloped, developing, and highly developed nations, students face the issue of hunger head-on. Next they explore the concept of food security and look at some of the causes of food insecurity. They begin considering what they can do to improve food security at home and around the world. Then, following plans created by two high school students, the class creates a low-cost, high-impact bucket garden. In the process, students learn that this portable food production system is an easy way for anyone to create a vegetable garden and is a valuable tool that will enable people in large cities or in areas with difficult growing conditions to harvest fresh, healthy food. Finally, students consider other ideas for sustainable food production and how they personally can make a difference.

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