How Our Food Moves Water Around the Planet

Wednesday 1:30pm-4:00pm Tate B45
Afternoon Mini Workshop


Robin Madel, The Water Footprint Education Project
Kai Olson-Sawyer, GRACE Communications Foundation

In this workshop teachers will learn about the connections between agriculture, food production and water use, and discover ideas and resources for how to teach about the sometimes-abstract relationship between food and water. It takes a lot of water to grow crops, some of which are fed to animals, some of which are manufactured into other food products and some of which end up on our plates directly. In addition, crop and animal agriculture can cause water pollution that can reduce water supplies. Water resources are already squeezed by climate change, population growth and demands by industrial, energy and residential users. As food is shipped around the globe, the associated water resources are shipped virtually along with it. The Water Footprint of Food Guide is a tool that was created to help students understand the water impacts of their food choices and learn ways to lower the water footprint of their diets. Through the use of the Guide and an activity from our Water Footprint Lesson Plans, participants will understand how to teach about the impacts of our food and how and why we move water around the country and around the world.

Download a PDF of our presentation here (Acrobat (PDF) 2.4MB Jul10 22).

Goals (replace with your own 2-4 goals)

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Understand what a water footprint is:
  • Understand what their own water footprint is and why;
  • Understand why our food often makes up the biggest portion of our water footprints and how to teach about the connections; and
  • Know more about the materials we have available to them and how to better teach about these sometimes abstract concepts.

Program (replace with your own program; you can always update before workshop)

  • 1:30 - Introductions
  • 1:45 - What is a Water Footprint?
    • Activity - Pop Quiz
    • Activity - Water Footprint Calculator
    • Presentation
      • How do we use water?
      • What is a water footprint?
    • The WFC Website
    • Activity - Virtual Water Flip Cards
  • 2:30 - Break (5 minutes)
  • 2:35 - How Are Water and Food Connected?
    • Presentation
      • Why do some foods have bigger water footprints than others?
      • How does food move water around the world?
    • Review of Water Footprint of Food Guide
    • Activity - What is the Water Footprint of Your Food? (3 Foods)
  • 3:40 - Q&A/Survey

Resources (optional, replace with your own or delete this section; you can add these during workshop as well)