Life on the farm
Teachers in Development Education and Face, pound;8
CD-Rom free from FACE
Our relationship with the food we eat, where and how it is produced, has become more remote as we become more urbanised and supermarkets dominate our shopping.
Teachers in the West Midlands have produced a thought-provoking and practical handbook Food and Farming - Local and Global, for investigating food and farming at key stages 23. It is packed with simple yet effective teaching and learning ideas. The investigations begin with the nature of farming - what a farmer does and the skills required, together with the interconnections between farmers and other workers and between an English farm and its worldwide markets. Pupils then question and compare production in their school garden with that in a Gambian school.
Sustainability is investigated through structured questioning about strawberry growing in the Vale of Evesham and fruit found in a supermarket.
Fair trade is explored through the production of bananas in the Windward Islands. This catches the attention of pupils and teachers with its analytical methods. For example, the sustainable development square builds from the farmer, through local and UK communities to those of More economically developed countries and the global community. There is also a "meta-learning cycle" of an enquiry tree growing from initial questions (roots) fed by background research (soil), enabling enquiry issues to be established (trunk and branches) and solutions found (fruit).
There are clear photographs, mind-maps, internet and curriculum links throughout.
The Windwards Bananas CD-Rom can be used independently of Food and Farming or as a support material. In four PowerPoint sets, pupils are introduced to the Windward Islands, see the issues regarding production and earning a living from bananas, and consider how fair trade works and has an effect on development. Banks of key questions for each slide, cross-referenced to national curriculum schemes of work, enable pupils to focus on the nature of Caribbean food produced for export.
Ian Selmes teaches geography at Oakham School, Rutland