|Exploding the Hunger Myths - High School Curriculum (FF, 1987, 173 p.)|
|Lesson 8: Working together for change|
Students will research the role their community plays in the world food system and where hunger occurs in their community. They will compile a group report on their findings.
· To investigate hunger and food
in the local community
· To compile a report based on research
· Art supplies
Group reports can be turned in.
Food and hunger in your community
1. Ask students what they know about hunger in their community. Does it exist? Suggest that the class design and conduct a research project about how hunger and food issues relate to their community.
Suggest these topics for investigation to students and/or come up with others if you wish.
· How widespread is hunger in our community?
Investigate school lunch programs. What programs does your school have? Are there food banks in your town? How many people use them? How many people in your town live below the poverty line? This information is often available at city or county offices or the state department of public aid. The U.S. census also contains this kind of information. Reference librarians are helpful in making sense of the census.
· Where does our food come from?
Investigate whether or not your community produces food. Are there any canneries, bakeries, mills, food-processing plants, or meat-packing plants? Do these industries get their raw materials from the local area or from far away? Where is the locally produced food consumed? Is it consumed locally or far away? Where is other food eaten in the community produced? Have things changed in the last twenty years?
There are many ways to investigate these questions. Students can take a sample of thirty food items from a grocery store and research the origins of these products. They can then make a map or a flow chart of the path the food took before coming to the local community. If there are food industries in your town, students can conduct interviews with people working in these industries.
· How is this community linked to the forces that create hunger in other countries?
Hunger is created and maintained where governments prohibit workers from organizing unions, where governments pour resources into the military and the police and use them against their own people, where wealthy landowners and foreign corporations take land from poor peasants, and where food production is shifted to luxury exports while local food production declines. Are we connected to the creation and continuation of hunger through the use of our tax dollars or the policies of corporations based here in the United States? What are the living conditions of people growing our food?
To find out about living conditions in other countries, check with a reference librarian for information. There are many books on the situation of farmworkers in the United States. The International Labor Organization publishes wages for various occupations in many countries. Finally, students can interview local residents who are immigrants or refugees about working conditions in their country.
2. Have the students select topics they would like to research for the notebook. Several students can work together on a particular topic. Suggest a time limit for the project, perhaps one to two weeks.
3. After students have had time to conduct their research, have a class meeting to discuss their findings. Assign each student or group to prepare a part of the class report. Possible contributions include written reports, maps, drawings, photographs, or transcripts of interviews.
Encourage students to use their varied talents in producing the report. They can each work at home on individual segments of their group report.
4. Allow an hour or two of class time to put together the report. Make copies for all students. You may want to distribute additional copies to individuals in the community (perhaps some of the people that students interviewed). It is also valuable to put copies in libraries.