Friday, March 20, 2009

Meal Plan: Resources for Teaching and Learning about Food

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” —Rachel Carson

Mural at Growing Power farm, Milwaukee, photo by
Mural at Growing Power's
urban farm in Milwaukee.
Dear Educators,

Food touches nearly every aspect of our lives. It connects us to friends, families, and strangers. It influences our own health and the vitality of our economy. During these lean times, it seems people are stepping up. School gardens are on the rise. Restaurants are partnering with local farms. Many people are planting vegetables for the first time.

In this newsletter, we offer a collection of classroom resources on the food, economy, and environment connection. These include stories and tools in the spring issue of YES! Magazine, such as The City That Ended Hunger and the Everybody Eats poster.

Everyone can make positive changes in their food choices—for their own health and for the health of our planet. So plant some seeds today, and share their bounty come summer.

Jing Fong, Education Outreach Manager, YES! MagazineBest,
Jing's signature
Jing Fong
Education Outreach Manager, YES! Magazine

P.S. Forward this newsletter to teaching colleagues so they too can benefit from YES!

Your Stories

Joe Gillespie
If You Give a Kid a Shovel
Joe Gillespie from Crescent City, California, started his first school garden in 1993 with 50 raised beds. Today, he and his middle school students are growing vegetables year-round, monitoring wind turbines, and experiencing the incredible joy of connecting with each other and the land. Read Joe’s story.

MORE OF YOUR STORIES: Chicken Soup for the Soul in the Classroom. Joining students in campaigning for quality education. Discovering the Beauty of Teenagers. Local food in schools.

SEND US your own story to share with our growing network of YES! educators.

YES! Recommends

feet and corn

Will Allen, founder of Growing PowerMacArthur genius and former pro basketball player Will Allen heads up Growing Power, the only zoned farmland in inner city Milwaukee. See how he brings food and social justice to his community in Growing Power in an Urban Food Desert.

For more inspiration on local food movements, 8 Ways to Join the Local Food Movement suggests actions—invite friends for a local-foods potluck, eat mostly plants, swap seeds—that you and your students can do on your own or together, starting today.

Meet Madhu Suri Prakash, who asks us to envision slow food school lunches, with the rasoi of her mother’s village kitchen as a model.

Brazil’s Belo Horizonte is The City That Ended Hunger—the government there believes that food is a right of citizenship.

YES! Classroom Tools

Everybody Eats, YES! Magazine community food poster
Everybody Eats: Community Food Poster
What’s the fuss about growing food and eating locally? Your students will “get it” through this mind-mapping illustration of how a community-based food system works, taking them from small farms with natural cycles to fresh food and stronger communities.


The Page That Counts, YES! Magazine graphic
The Page That Counts
Can you guess the percentage of teenagers who can text blindfolded? Or the number of pirate attacks worldwide in the first three months of 2008?

cover of Sarah Miles' book Take the Bread
On Starting a Food Bank
Sarah Miles never expected to find herself at a church handing out bread, beans, tomatoes, and grocieries to crowds of San Franciscans. Now she is loving it.

vegetables, Photo by Ranjit Bhatnagar /
10 Ways to a Human-Scale Economy
From micro-lending to farmer-chef partnerships, these innovations cultivate local commerce without depending on outside big companies.
Connect and Engage
Here’s an array of colorful, practical, and compelling materials that you can use not only in your classroom but also in your professional and everyday life.

farmers market sign
Eat Fresh, Buy Local
There’s a difference between food that comes from an industrialized corporate farm and food that comes from a local farmer. Your students will learn how food choices affect health, environment, and economies through the National Farmers Union’s stand-alone lesson plans (grades 1-12).

Center for Ecoliteracy
The Center for Ecoliteracy offers educators comprehensive, intelligent, and engaging information on sustainable living. From Rethinking School Lunch curriculum to essays, recommended websites, and like-minded organizations, you will find a feast of resources to nibble on.

Seasonal Charts
Eating locally means eating seasonally. The National Resources Defense Council’s “Eat Local” chart reveals what foods are in season, state by state, helping you plan for meals and lower your carbon footprint.

Power Shift 2009 logo Power Shift
What do you get when you mobilize a group of supercharged youth climate change activists? You have more than a gathering, you have a movement. More
YES! Web Picks
Gustavo Dudamel leads the Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra of El Sistema, Venezuela's groundbreaking, life-changing musical education program. Music that Transforms
Treat yourself to this rapturous performance of the national high school age youth orchestra of El Sistema, Venezuela's groundbreaking, life-changing musical education program.

Michael Pollan during his recent TED talk

The Omnivore’s Next Dilemma
Are humans just pawns in plants’ clever strategy to rule the Earth? Michael Pollan asks us to see the world from their perspective.

still from the Eat the View video Eat the View
Presidential households from Jefferson to Roosevelt kept food gardens at the White House. A colorful history of Pennsylvania Avenue’s “edible landscape.”

Visual Learning
Fresh food for school lunches in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Passion to End Hunger

Use this photo to ask your students what they notice and are wondering. Then share the facts behind the image to connect to greater understanding and discovery.

DOWNLOAD :: Visual Learning Lesson Plan.