Food as the Foundation for Healthy Communities
This material was developed and reviewed through the InTeGrate curricular materials development process. This rigorous, structured process includes:
- team-based development to ensure materials are appropriate across multiple educational settings.
- multiple iterative reviews and feedback cycles through the course of material development with input to the authoring team from both project editors and an external assessment team.
- real in-class testing of materials in at least 3 institutions with external review of student assessment data.
- multiple reviews to ensure the materials meet the InTeGrate materials rubric which codifies best practices in curricular development, student assessment and pedagogic techniques.
- review by external experts for accuracy of the science content.
This page first made public: Oct 23, 2017
The movement toward sustainable communities has brought into focus the centrality of food in our everyday lives and its myriad social, economic, and environmental connections. The purpose of this module, Food as the Foundation for Healthy Communities, is to position students to have engaging conversations about the social, economic, and environmental relationships between food, food producers, and health outcomes. The framework of this module is built on the platform of the food-energy-water connections in the context of community empowerment and environmental justice. This module offers students an opportunity to examine and refine their own perceptions regarding food production, good food access, and health outcomes. This module's design and format makes the conversation about good food and better health outcomes an attractive one—for both teachers and students. Students will see individual and community empowerment through sustainable food production efforts and food networks based on a range of partnerships. Engaging students in meaningful conversations and exchange of ideas about the relationships between food and health outcomes will inspire students to participate in the capacity building of their own communities with the goal of seeing fresh, affordable, accessible foods and improved health as commonplace. Participants will evaluate primary and secondary data sources, interpret findings, and synthesize information. The grand challenge is for human beings to return to a way of living that acknowledges that we will always be dependent on the natural environment and its offerings.
Strengths of the Module
- incorporates systems thinking inherent to geoscience and human/environment interactions.
- shows systems thinking in action by using real-life examples of challenges related to resource management and collaborative problem solving.
- offers a foundational option to support other more advanced and intermediate level geoscience based modules and courses.
- offers practical, first-contact learning experience for students to enter the geosciences and related fields.
- delivers its content using group learning and a variety of hands-on, interactive student-centered activities.
- presents easily accessible primary teaching materials, user-friendly for both instructors and students, and backed by a multitude of useful supporting resources.
- presents a set of learning units that areeasy to insert into a wide range of courses from geosciences and physical sciences to social sciences and humanities.
A great fit for courses in:
- environmental science
- natural resources
- environmental geology
- Earth science
This module is appropriate for introductory-intermediate level science and social science courses. The module is designed to stand alone as a research project and can be adapted to many class sizes and formats (large- or small-enrollment classes and interdisciplinary courses). The module includes three units with lab/homework and in-class group activities. While these units are designed to build upon one another, the units can be adapted to stand alone.
Supported community developed, nationally-recognized Earth Science Literacy Principles:
- Earth Science Literacy 1.1: Earth scientists find solutions to society's needs.
- Earth Science Literacy 7.1: Earth is our home; its resources mold civilizations, drive human exploration, and inspire human endeavors that include art, literature, and science. We depend upon Earth for sustenance, comfort, places to live and play, and spiritual inspiration.
- Earth Science Literacy 7.3: Natural resources are limited. Earth's natural resources provide the foundation for all of human society's physical needs. Most are nonrenewable on human time scales, and many will run critically low in the near future.
- Earth Science Literacy 7.4: Resources are distributed unevenly around the planet. Resource distribution is a result of how and where geologic processes have occurred in the past, and has extremely important social, economic, and political implications.
- Earth Science Literacy 7.5: Water resources are essential for agriculture, manufacturing, energy production, and life. Earth scientists and engineers find and manage our fresh water resources, which are limited in supply. In many places, humans withdraw both surface water and groundwater faster than they are replenished. Once fresh water is contaminated, its quality is difficult to restore.
Supported community developed, nationally-recognized Energy Literacy Principles:
- Energy Literacy 3.6: Humans are part of Earth's ecosystems and influence energy flow through these systems. Humans are modifying the energy balance of Earth's ecosystems at an increasing rate. Shifts occur, for example, as a result of changes in agricultural and food processing technology, consumer habits, and human population size.
- Energy Literacy 4: Various sources of energy can be used to power human activities, and often this energy must be transferred from source to destination.
- Energy Literacy 5: Energy decisions are influenced by economic, political, environmental, and social factors.
- Energy Literacy 6: The amount of energy used by human society depends on many factors.