The environmental impacts of production agriculture have forced us to consider the use of energy resources to produce food. There are those who believe that better fertilizers and pesticides coupled with engineered seeds will meet the demands of a growing population. Others believe a strategic approach utilizing water and soil management, reintroduction of polyculture, crop rotation, integrated pest management and reduction of "food miles" are just some of the tools that will yield us the harvests we desire. Unlike any time in the past, students today are presented with endless possibilities but have little connection to how their food comes to the table or where it was produced.
This unit examines how much energy production and transportation of food currently uses and the effects of production agriculture on the environment. Students will be challenged to examine their food choices, estimate how far their meal has traveled, connect with local producers of food and use a pallet garden to understand how creative use of space can produce food in an urban environment. They will be empowered to make decisions and change just a few things that can impact their health and the world.
(Developed for Vet Tech and Animal Science, grade 11; recommended for Plant Science and Animal Science, grade 10, and General Science, grades 9-10)