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Field trips to Farmers

Students in urban areas can take virtual field trips to farmers in rural areas in order to gain more understanding of where and how their food is grown.

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Written by DeletedUser

As a child, I was taken on a field trip to my town's water waste plant. I thought it was really lame, compared to the other option of an amusement park. As an adult, I am pleased that part of my curriculum focused on systems that are normally out of sight and I am inspired to make these field trips more common in student's lives, particularly the food system, which many children never have the chance to see from start to finish.


Shopping in a traditional grocery store removes the backstory of the food we eat. The place the seeds were sown, the farmer who planted and watered them, the people who harvested the produce, the travel from farm to market...all of this is lost in one bin of gleaming, red, out of season, tomatoes.


Video technology has reached a point where virtual conversations are often much easier and much more cost effective than physical interaction can be. With so much of people's food being grown beyond their reasonable reach, virtual field trips to the farms that grow are food make a lot of sense in the education of young people on food systems. Children often have no idea where the food they eat comes from and the opportunity to understand the system is unparalleled in terms of its potential long term impact. School sponsored, classroom based virtual tours of farms (be they nearby or countries away) that produce the food we eat on a regular basis will allow children the opportunity to connect with the places and people that produce their food.


Changes in curriculum to include virtual field trips to farms and farmers will enable students to be more aware of what it takes to grow and get food to them, creating more conscious future consumers and citizens.


Photo from Flickr, Library of Congress, James Pompey, no known publishing restrictions

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Photo of Tiffany Chan

Great idea. I love the concept of breaking down silos between urban and rural areas and enabling students to "interact" with farms so they understand where their food comes from. Urban buildings often lack space, but they all have rooftops. How about using the space on school rooftops to build greenhouses? There's a company called Topsprounts (http://www.topsprouts.com/) working on the concept right now. It serves multiple purposes: captures waste heat from school buildings, produces local food and enables students to directly connect and have a more comprehensive understanding of food.

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DeletedUser

I totally agree, we must incorporate where our food comes from in our school curriculum. I would love to see using Google Maps (and possibly GPS) to have students map where they get their food as well as map the local/regional food system. If any of their school food is sourced locally/regionally they could create photoessays/multimedia pieces documenting the path of their food. These pieces could then we loaded up onto Google Maps to create a local foodshed map. These skills and activities could easily be incorporated into most state standards.

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DeletedUser

Thanks for the tip Meena - I went through and added some related inspirations that also cover ideas of technology, sourcing food, connecting food production and consumption at an early age through school curriculum (including gardens at schools, field trips, etc). I hope that this helps to connect the dots, I know there are a lot of them!

Photo of Meena Kadri

Nice one Sarah – funny how those seemingly lame things often leave a lasting impact. I wasn't into it when our progressive primary school introduced peer assessment though was a good skill to learn at a young age. And here I am *years* later – moderating an online community of 13k + inspiring peers!

But back to food... curriculum could definitely help here. If you do a search within this challenge for "school" or "student" you're likely to bring a bunch of inspirations which speak to this. You could even add the most appropriate ones using the Update button on the right of your post and use the Build Upon feature to increase your DQ points and help us connect the dots between all these fab insights.