The Big Picture- Food Production Cycle
As a class or in smaller groups, choose a food that was eaten at lunch or breakfast that day. Brainstorm the process that you think the food went through from the point of its origin as a plant or an animal through to the point of you eating. Consider all the steps including how it got to the school cafeteria or you home. Because this unit does not cover aspects of the entire cycle at this point, it is important to bring light to it and indicate that because of the complexity of the cycle; only a few components will be highlighted.
Journaling Your Eating Habits
Introduction: As discussed in class, many Americans eat entirely too many calories in a given day. For five days, you are going to record what you eat. It is important that you record as much as you can about the things you eat in a chart. Develop a spreadsheet on Excel using the bold face column headings below. You will use a new sheet for each day starting with what you eat in the morning, lunch and dinner as well as all snacks. Some of us might even use more than one per day.
indicate what meal this is or if it is a snack etc
Name of Food:
this is the broad category. For example, Breakfast sandwich or spaghetti sauce or ham and cheese sandwich.
this is where you record the manufacturer or processor of the food. For example, Lay's Potato Chips. Frito-Lay is owned by Pepsico, Inc. American owned company. Frito-Lay is located in Plano,TX. This might take some research but information on most companies can be found.
# of Calories per serving
# of servings:
usually the calories information is on a container or wrapper. If this is not the case if you bought a meal at a chain, you will need to research this. This information is usually found on the restaurants website or at the following website:
www.newcaloriecounter.com – on this website you get calorie information per 100 grams or http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/ - on this website, the unit of measure can be selected.
Foods where this is not available ie a sandwich you made at home, can also be researched at these websites.
whether you buy a prepared food or make something from scratch, there are ingredients. Here we are not taking spices and additives or colorings into account. Only the major foods that are present in the meal will be listed. For example, a breakfast sandwich at a coffee shop…bacon, egg, cheese and whatever form you chose for the roll…a croissant. So, the ingredients would be…bacon, egg, milk (for the cheese), milk (in the making of the croissant and for the butter), sugar, salt and flour. Again, if you don't have an ingredient list from a packaged food, then it is time you get on a computer and look it up!
This is a tedious process…to be sure. However, it will bring to light what you are eating each day and will eventually lead to discovering just where are food comes from.
Where Did That Meal Come From Matrix Instructions
1) Choose one of the meals that you recorded on the Food Journal. While a more complex meal will take a little longer, the idea here is that you learn something about where a typical day's meal comes from so choose a meal that would be typical for you. Create an Excel Spreadsheet with the words in bold below as the column headings. Allow enough space to accommodate your information. I suggest a landscape format to allow for all of the columns.
refers to when you ate it ie lunch
This is what you ate…ie hamburger, roll, dill pickle and chips
For each component, list the main ingredients..ie ground beef, potato, cucumber, wheat, sesame seeds
Where could it have been grown?
This will require some research to find out where in the world the ingredients could have come from to make the food that you ultimately ate. If the ingredients could only have come from another country, list the countries
6) Using the attached map of the country, develop a key for each of the ingredients and map where each of them may have come from.
Estimate the number of miles total that your meal traveled to be in your plate in New Haven, CT
Interview an Community Supported Agriculture Farmer or Farmer's Market Participant
Goal: Get a glimpse into the reasons why this movement has gained so much momentum as well as reconnecting with where your food could come from!
1) The names and addresses of local CSAs or Farmers Market Members
2) Make contact with one and set up an appointment to interview them either in person or over the phone
3) Below are a few of the suggested questions you might ask
a. How long have you participated in this type of agriculture?
b. How many acres do you cultivate/animals do you raise?
c. How much if any of your operation is computerized or mechanized?
d. How many different products/crops do you grow?
e. If you are a producing a plant crop, what method do you employ to enrich the soil?
f. What type of schooling or education do you have?
g. What parts of your business are the most pleasurable and which are the least?
h. Why did you decide to go into business?
i. Has your business being growing and do you attribute this to the increase awareness of sustainable food choices?
4) Gain permission to take pictures if you can visit the farm.
** Keeping in mind the product below, this may not be all that you talk about. Your goal is to get to know the person and collect information for the next step.
Product: You will be presenting your information to the class. You are introducing the class to this person and their business.
Project and Scientific Inquiry
Make the Bag or Pallet Garden- the general idea is to obtain a clean, non-chemically treated pallet, cover one large side and a short side with landscaping cloth that is stapled to the wood. Fill the inside of the pallet with garden soil.
Introduction: Modern agriculture methods are being called into question with a renewed focus on conserving energy, protecting the environment and sustainability. Urban agriculture is a growing phenomenon as people who are disconnected from their food in a fast paced world are discovering not only the enhanced nutrition of food grown locally but the fun of having a garden. Urban gardens have a number of challenges, the amount of space and fertile, uncontaminated soil among them. Roof gardens, raised beds and container gardens have been popping up all over urban areas. Manure is one option but many times the gardens are enriched with commercial fertilizers as they are more convenient and readily prepared.
You are a new soil scientist in an urban area Ag Experiment Station. You have seen Pallet Gardens on the internet and would like to introduce them to a neighborhood experiencing renewal. The scientist in you is curious about the effectiveness of the pallet garden as it relates to plant growth or uptake of nutrients. You have the following materials at your disposal to design an experiment.
Design a controlled experiment that tests something about the effectiveness of the pallet garden in growing. Note: use pallets that have not been treated.
The students can work as a class, depending on how many students there are or how much space is available. This is a CAPT-esque/Vo-Ag application based exercise that allows the students to design and implement the scientific method.
Make a recipe book using foods that can be grown anywhere, including an urban environment or in the pallet garden.
Dry storage for root vegetables Activity: Storing foods in winter/non-growing season. This could be cross curricular with a shop class or other vocational agriculture course. Vegetables that can be grown in New England like potatoes, winter squash, carrots, turnips, garlic, parsnip, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, pumpkin, radishes, onions, shallots and leeks can be stored. You will need one to two weeks in warm temperatures to promote healing of any wounds in the surface and thickens skin for retention of moisture before storing. You can also use buckets of sand for storing carrots, turnips, parsnips, onions, radishes.
Work with or for a farmer from the farmers market- as an extension to the interview, work to harvest, work on a Saturday at a market.
Collect data and observations about the amount of packaging material that is collected at a school in a single day.