"The wonderful thing about food is you get three votes a day. Every one of them has the potential to change the world." (Michael Pollan, author and Nourish curriculum contributor)
What’s the Story of Your Food?
Nourish, an education initiative of Worldlink, wants to open meaningful classroom conversations about food and food systems, promote sustainability, and help students consider the effects of their food choices on people and the environment. The core of the movement is a 30-minute public broadcasting special that explores our relationship with food on a global, local, and personal level. While the film is available for purchase, the accompanying 85-page curriculum and numerous short videos are free of charge. The curriculum includes a chart showing its alignment with national standards for grades 1-7, and teachers are encouraged to enact some or all of the seven activities in their classrooms to promote experiential understanding of the central question posed by the film: What’s the story of your food?
Expert Voices, Guided Exploration
Nourish activities challenge students to interact with their food in a deeper way. Projects include tracking the farm to fork journey by looking at nutrition labels and visiting local producers, analyzing marketing strategies in food ads, and sharing family food traditions. Each activity is accompanied by worksheets, handouts, assessments, and short videos featuring experts such as chefs, authors, farmers, and pediatricians. Nourish seeks to empower youth by reminding them that, while they may be too young to vote, they vote three times a day with their forks. By showing them the impact food choices have on individual health and the local and global community, the curriculum challenges students to be agents for change.
Nourishing the World
Classrooms from California to Taiwan have adopted parts of the Nourish curriculum. Based on the stories highlighted on their website, the activities seem most easily incorporated into wellness, art, or elective classes. However, a sixth grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher from California described how she uses Nourish to supplement her unit on the agricultural revolution. She finds food an engaging and accessible writing topic. Because everybody eats, students can easily pick a topic and focus on writing strategy. While it may be a challenge for other subjects to incorporate Nourish into the curriculum, the flexibility and accessibility of the resources offer teachers and students an easy entry into meaningful conversation about food.Image: By Pixabay via Pexels