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Food Science Course in K-12 Education

Bring producers, retailers and other members of the food supply chain into the classroom via video, in-person talks or field trips. Teach our kids how to understand what's in a grocery store. Learn how the body processes different foods. Inform an entire generation on how to be better consumers, chefs, industry workers, farmers, etc.

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Written by DeletedUser

We teach Environmental Science, Earth Science, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, etc. to our children. Why not a required course in Food Science? If we walk down the street and interview people, how many use Chemistry in their current career? How many use Calculus?



I understand primary education is about learning to learn, but why not throw in a practical life course, like Food Science? We all eat, but we don’t all work with quartz or use the Pythagorean’s Theorem each day.

 

Unfortunately, this means we toss the current generation overboard and focus on the kids!



Both rural schools and urban schools would benefit, perhaps in slightly different ways. Farmers would contribute teaching videos, sponsor field trips, you name it. Grocery Store managers, chefs, anyone involved in the supply chain would present to the students. Assignments would range from understanding ingredients of products, what preservatives do, how food gets processed by the body… possibilities are endless! And kids will never look at food the same way again – lasting impression.



Today’s producers educate tomorrow’s consumers. Urban has a greater understanding/respect for rural. Rural learns where the food goes. Some students will grow up to work in a better food industry. And all the challenge goals (nutrition, security, obesity, etc) are baked into the curriculum.



The inspiration for this idea came from this video: http://www.girleffect.org/video Education is key to a better world for all. And this idea can be implemented globally.



PS: Would toss water consumption/scarcity into the curriculum. Great topic!

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DeletedUser

Totally agree having the resources in many of schools. 4H was huge in Texas. And agree it is more of a track than a part of the mainstream curriculum.

There are multiple ways to teach a subject. Why couldn't chemistry and food science go hand in hand? Teaching the chemistry side, but using food science as the applied skill. Biology? Genetics in the food system. Still learn genetics, but with a practical side.

We suffer from teaching kids in hindsight. We have to wait decades after an event for it to get into the curriculum. Kids understand history and formulas, but learn little about being in the moment... the chaos of today's world and today's decisions. We don't need an investigation of the past (100%), we need to learn how to interpret the present day!

Someone must be doing Food Science... http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Food-Science-Texas/dp/0766813142

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DeletedUser

Actually, there's no reason not to include engineering, physics, chemistry, and biology as well as practical skills. Maybe even finance. They're all interrelated.

And, I bet that kids will be much more likely to remember those concepts when placed in a practical context.

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DeletedUser

My high school in the US - and I imagine many others - offer students the choice to pursue vocational (farming & industry) or academic studies after the age of 16 or so. The common cry is that this deprives students who choose the vocational stream of great literature or higher mathematics - but we forget that it also deprives the academic students of horticultural knowledge!

There are probably many existing agricultural programs - and teachers with accumulated knowledge - at vocational schools in north america. We just need to give students access to them.

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DeletedUser

Jessica - totally agree with you. Did a little research and found ConAgra's Foundation http://www.conagrafoodsfoundation.org/index.jsp

I think various global companies would get on board bringing Food Science into the classroom. I could even see McDonald's getting in on the game, if for PR reasons alone.

And I wonder if this idea could be tied to food insecurity (poverty) like you mention below. That would give this idea huge exposure. We are teaching kids to provide for themselves, their families, and future generations. It goes beyond farming... in developed countries, kids become more savvy consumers.

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DeletedUser

David, I think you and I are on the same page. By involving children at a young age, the idea of being a conscientious consumer becomes second nature to them. I definitely see food as being a tool that can be used at any age group.

I hadn't seen the girleffect video yet; it's a very powerful concept. With a large portion of the world living below the poverty level, what a great avenue to teach children farming techniques to not only feed themselves and their family, but to have a skill set for life.

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DeletedUser

Sina. thanks for the heads up. I applauded Jessica's idea.

Meena - One thing that I will add is Aubrey Daniel's PIC/NIC theory. In essence, we are attracted to positive, immediate and certain outcomes. Smoking is relaxing and suppresses appetite. That's PIC. But lung cancer is negative - future - uncertain. People will roll the dice on anything that is negative, uncertain and way off in the distance.

I recommend keeping it really PIC for the kids. If they hear negative messages, I think they will tune out. It's almost a celebration of the best of food production and consumption. Lead by example. Inspire. Teach through positive reinforcement only. For example, less focus on obesity-type topics and more on maximizing energy through food. Thanks!

Photo of Sina Mossayeb

I think this idea would jiggy well with Jessica's idea on bringing farmers in: http://openideo.com/open/localfood/concepting/grow-em-young/?status_message=Comment+added&success=True

Photo of Meena Kadri

Good stuff David!

I'd definitely throw scarcity in there:
http://www.randomspecific.com/scarcity-sustaining
and consumption too:
http://www.randomspecific.com/postconsumption-creativity