S.T. Gill, Premises of Samuel Henderson, Ham and Bacon Curers, Saltwater River, Footscray, colour lithograph, 1873
Use the 'Food supply' inquiry unit to investigate the diverse produce found in Victoria – from traditional foods to introduced crops – and examine the food supply system.
Download the 'Food supply' curriculum outcome documents below to see how this unit aligns with VELS standards for levels 3 and 4, and the Australian Curriculum for years 3 to 6.
For a quick overview of the topic, see Food supply – theme overview.
- Unpack a shopping bag of everyday processed products from the dairy, deli, butcher, baker, greengrocer, pantry and freezer. Ask your students to predict the ingredients they contain and where they come from. Students can record their thinking using a mind-mapping tool like Bubbl.us.
- Introduce food supply terms such as fair trade, sustainable, seasonal, slow food and indigenous. (For 'indigenous', see the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne's Aboriginal Resource Trail teacher resource.)
- Invite students to record wonderings and questions about food supply with the support of a question matrix template.
- Plan a walking excursion of the local area with your students by creating a custom Google map. Explore local food stores, community gardens and markets. Reflect on student wonderings, challenge misconceptions and introduce new perspectives about the food supply.
- Invite guest speakers to talk to students about indigenous food supply, gardening, farming and food supply movements.
- Watch Mark Olive discussing indigenous food sources.
- Investigate the types of foods produced in Victoria. Why are some areas better suited to particular crops and animals?
- Think about which sorts of foods are most likely to be produced through ethical farming methods.
- Set up a pop-up garden in the classroom. Conduct experiments and collect data about the conditions living things need to survive. Sort data and display findings using Create a Graph.
- Extend students' understanding from the pop-up garden experience listed under 'Explore'. Have students consider some of the threats to food supply (refer to Oxfam Australia's Grow page).
- View the 'Food and you' animation about global food supply issues. (You may need to download this video in advance if your school network does not allow access to YouTube.)
- Explain the tools available on Pin in the Map. Demonstrate locating and pinning produce to the map.
- Reflect on current understanding of food supply using this provocation: what do consumers need to know in order to make informed decisions about what they eat?
- Negotiate a food product to research with each student. Instruct students to research how their food is grown, transported and processed. Work with students to compose success criteria for their individual inquiries and subsequent presentation.
- Teach students to use Glogster, Keynote and Pin in the Map to create an interactive food supply chain.
- Have students present their projects, and consider how student understandings have changed. Invite students to reflect on the process of food supply. Ask students: what do you think consumers need to know about this product?
- Encourage students to think globally and consider some positive actions to food supply issues. Nurture and support student-initiated actions such as setting up a kitchen garden. For ideas, explore the 3 things website.