New Haven has a farmers' market that meets in various parts of the city on different days of the week. Almost every type of food that is available at the grocery store can be found at the farmers' market.
Students should be prepped regarding the proper way to ask questions and speak to merchants. They should have had a class exercise where they have prepared questions ahead of time to ask the different farmers and the grocery store employees.
The purpose of this project is for students to get an idea of what is available locally, how much it costs to produce, and how much it is to purchase. This information will be used to compare and contrast similar items that are available at the local grocery chain store. Students should find out how far the farmer had to travel to get their products to New Haven. When was the food harvested? How was it produced? How long did it take from the time it was harvested to the market? The questions should deal with expenses, costs, distance traveled, time, land use, crop yield, and other quantifiable things associated with food production.
Arrangements can be made ahead of time to meet with the grocery chain. They are often very welcoming of local students because their parents may shop there. Stop & Shop is very generous and give behind-the-scene tours with their department heads and they are quite knowledgeable about food origins and some of the same information that the local farmers will provide.
The data collected from this lesson can be used throughout the school year for basically every unit. Simply extract the information you need to satisfy the unit you are teaching.