While My Farmer was moving equipment home from our south fields . . . The fields are south by a short hour drive and moving equipment home means we are done with harvest. Woot! Woot! Of course when one task ends another begins, and so now we chisel. But we’re done with harvest!
Anyway . . .
While My Farmer was moving equipment home, I spent the afternoon in my sister’s sixth grade language arts class talking about what the world eats. One of the hats I wear is that of ag literacy coordinator. I work with the Ag in the Classroom (AITC) program and talk farming, food and general ag with elementary and jr. high students.
Illinois AITC capitalized on The Hunger Games craze and wrote a great curriculum incorporating a phenomenal book about world food consumption titled The Hungry Planet. The book profiles families from 21 countries, starting each chapter with a picture of the family and a week’s worth of their groceries. Each chapter describes the family’s life, their income, traditions, faith, the country’s stats – mortality, fertility, nutrition, environmental status, etc.
(Note: If you’re not familiar with The Hunger Games series, please do not take the easy way out and watch the movie. You must read the books to truly appreciate the underlying societal commentary.)
The students spent one session investigating a family from one of six countries. We stuck to the basics – climate, geography, what food they grow, they import and they eat. In the end, the conversation focused on a refugee family from Chad. We compared their meager supply of clean water, beans, rice, peppers and fruit provided by aid groups to the students’ daily intake of pop-tarts, hamburgers, candy, cereals, etc. I actually had to prompt the classes with, “Did you eat a fruit or vegetable today?” One responded, “I drank orange juice this morning.”
The next session we talked natural resources and finished off today with a lesson on biotech. I started with this great illustration using an apple as the earth, slowly cutting and peeling away until we were left with a thin piece of peel representing how much “good black dirt” the earth can offer to food production. That kinda puts the discussion on biotech in a whole new light. For fun the students got to create their own plant or animal that would survive the Chad desert and provide food for the family we got to know.
I think they got it for the most part. We’ve got one planet and one shot to get this right. Science must be part of the discussion or we could be left playing our own Hunger Games.
Read more 30 Day blogs starting with My Generation.