|Courtesy: World Food Day Website|
This month marks the beginning of that cozy fall feeling of the warmth of home, the thankfulness for all we have and the joy in celebrating with others. As we begin this time of harvest and reflection, I think it's only right that we think about our neighbors across the globe - especially those that don't have that happy stress of so much plentiful food that they have to pick which meal to prepare that night.
Hunger is still a major issue on our planet today. Malnutrition in children causes stunted growth, inability to focus in school, and the danger of a cycle of poverty and lack of food access.
Perhaps, then, World Food Day, is a perfectly timed event. Held on October 16th, it is a celebration and a call to action. It encourages us to celebrate our diversity, our similarities, and our universal right to food. It challenges us to think beyond our own daily life and consider the needs of others.
This month, I challenge you to learn more about World Food Day and plan an event in your classroom to help raise awareness and inspire students to become active participants in providing food for all. Below are some helpful links and resources that you can use.
1. World Food Day Website - The theme for 2014 is "Family Farming: Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth." The main page is a great resource on the history and background of World Food Day as well as the purpose for the event itself.
- "PERSPECTIVES" is a link to a series of essays from farmers, ranchers, policymakers, and other involved in the making and regulation of food around the world. It features 2 articles each day starting in September and ending on October 16. What a great way to start the dialogue on World Food Day! Use these essays as an activation to your lessons. Students can each pick out an essay and then report back to the class on what they learned, felt, and were confused by in the essay. Have them write their own essay for this - what is their point of view (bonus points for the literacy standards addressed here!)
- Want to go one step further? FIND EVENTS helps you locate World Food Day programs and events held near your area. There are over 800 as of today. Find one to join or you can also upload your own event to this page to truly be a part of the celebration.
- Want to go even farther? TAKE ACTION is my favorite resource! One activity is to Tweet a Toast to a local farmer. The hashtags #ToastAFarmer and #WFD2014 will help to show a global community of people engaged in the fight to end hunger. Or host an event? It can be a walk to raise money, a hunger banquet to raise awareness, or even a food drive to be donated to a local shelter. There is a great slideshow from the WFD2013 events that can help inspire a class. What a great project for a leadership class or FFA group to undertake!
- PBS - 6 Ways to Teach World Food Day This article was published on WFD in 2013, but the lessons are still relevant and applicable. Age range is grades 7-12 and include articles, hands-on activities and lesson plans. My favorite? The one titled Teaching the Power of School Meals. It's interactive, it's personalized, and even has a "call to action" piece for students to feel that they are making a difference.
- OXFAM - granted this lesson plans is aimed at teachers in England, but it can still be applicable to american students. Age range is 8-11 grade and includes a teacher's guide, assembly slides and a script. I envision this lesson utilized by upper level students as a WFD activity aimed at the middle school or 9th grade class. What a great way to empower your 11th and 12th grade students while educating students in the lower grades!
- WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME - as with the Oxfam lesson plans, these ones are aimed at a younger audience (grades 5-7) but as with the previous resource I believe this could be utilized as a lesson plan that high school students can use in teaching the middle school. This serves many purposes - it provides a positive relationship between the high school and middle school, it gives students a great experience of leaders others in a lesson, the lessons involve food insecurity as well as great geography lessons, students learn best when teaching others.
- EARTH BOX The company has been providing gardening containers for the better part of 20 years, but have recently teamed up with WFD to develop a product and curriculum for the World Food Day event. I saved this one for last because, yes, it does involve a cost. And although this project was slated for the 2013 WFD, it is still applicable for this year. From their website: "EarthBox created the STEM-basedEarthBox for World Food Day School Kit. Students of all ages observe WFD, practice sustainable agriculture, perform an authentic experience, learn the importance of eating healthy and advancing local and global food security." The TEACHER GUIDE provides specificity in the lessons. There are 10 interdependent activities that range from learning about World Food Day to planting and harvesting a crop.
- YouTube Videos - I have provided here a link to a Google Search that provides hundreds of videos related to WFD. Some are highlights of previous years, and some are educational videos produced specifically for the event. Use them as conversation starters, bell-ringers, inspiration for class projects, or to enhance a lesson.
- World Food Day Twitter Page (@FAOWFD) a great way to get kids connected to real-time information about food security. Have students follow the page and start each class with them discussion something interesting they found. While you're at it, try following World Food Programme (@WFP), Heifer International (@Heifer), Oxfam (@OxfamAmerica), or USAID (@USAID). You can also find them on Facebook. These resources will provide facts, articles, videos, and connections to people around the world.
|Photo: Carrie Kizuka Photography|