Unit 3: Food Systems In Action
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This page first made public: Oct 23, 2017
In the capstone, Unit 3, students are provided a real-world example of local community action to address the challenge of "healthy food access." The 2015 Leon County (Florida) Sustainable Communities Summit highlights the results of communities working together to promote environmental and food justice. By the end of Unit 3, instructors can deliver a call to action to empower students to be participatory citizens in their communities. The summative assessment will evaluate the students' ability to synthesize the module learning objectives and demonstrate the use of science practices.
Unit 3 Learning Goal: To examine the food system in action through the roles and contributions of key stakeholders committed to establishing integrated networks centered on "healthy food access."
Objectives to accomplish unit learning goal:
- Students will be able to discuss effective strategies to build local partnerships to meet the needs of a community.
- Students will be able to predict consequences to the health, economy, and environment as a result of non-sustainable food systems.
Context for Use
Unit 3 requires two to three class periods of instruction and is intended for undergraduate non-science majors, environmental science, global change, and other sustainability courses. The unit activities are classroom-based for a maximum of 30 students. As a stand-alone unit, the content reinforces the collective efforts of many stakeholders to approach the societal issues associated with food access. The instructional content and student activities of Unit 3 have real-world applications for developing sustainable healthy communities. Instructors are encouraged to challenge students with a call to action to be participatory citizens in their communities. The Unit 3 summative assessment requires students to have prior practice in the following science practices: identify a problem, data interpretation, present an argument based on evidence, and make predictions. Instructors can adapt the assessment to suit student skills and background knowledge.
Description and Teaching Materials
Note: The student version of the Unit 3 Student Page (see link in the blue box at the top of the page for an isolated student version) can be provided to students. The page contains the basic lesson layout, readings, videos, and assignments.
Activity 3.1: Overview of Unit 3 (approximate time: 30-45 min)
Students are introduced to the unit. It is important that students keep the activities, concepts, and themes from Unit 2 in mind as they work in Unit 3.
The instructor is reinforcing understanding of the previous and current concepts and themes. Additional instructions are provided in the Unit 3 teaching guide: Unit 3 Instructors' Teaching Guide (Microsoft Word 149kB Aug14 17)
The Food for Us Report Executive Summary is assigned as homework reading before Activity 3.2 to give students a sense of the various stakeholders involved in building and operating a food system. Students should be encouraged to explore the 2015 Leon County (Florida) Sustainable Communities Summit web page and find videos that demonstrate food systems in action.
Activity 3.2 Discussion of Food for Us Report (approximate time: 45–60 min)
The instructor will lead a discussion based the Executive Summary in Food for Us — the Report on the 2015 Leon County Sustainable Communities Summit.
The discussion should also naturally return to information in the Unit 2 & 3 slides, especially the food system diagrams: the five dimensions of food access; the goal of good food; food systems opportunities; and challenges and elements of the food system. The discussion should also return at some point to what was learned from the interview with the urban farmer in Unit 2 and explore the videos that students discovered in Activity 2.1.
Food for Us — We're All at the Table Together: Report on the Leon County Sustainable Communities Summit held January 24, 2015 http://www.growinggreen.org/portals/7/docs/FoodForUs.pdf
Activity 3.3 Scenario Analysis (approximate time: 60–75 min)
The instructor will read aloud "The Community Food Conversation Scenario" and clarify any issues regarding students' understanding the assignment instructions. The students are to present the arguments and concerns of all eight speakers in the scenario. Students are encouraged to develop thoughtful, believable, and complete statements for each speaker. This is done by having them consider the views, opinions, expectations, and promises (or pledges) consistent with the roles and duties each scenario speaker plays in the food system.
This is best given as a homework assignment. In groups of 3-4, assign students to review the Community Food Conservation worksheet and draft a short written analysis using the prompt in the worksheet. Their work in, and discussion within, small groups is best way to achieve good results. As in Activity 3.2, the instructor in class should return to information in the Unit 2 & 3 slides, especially the food system diagrams: the five dimensions of food access; the goal of good food; food systems opportunities; and challenges and elements of the food system. Strong encourage your students to review any and all references to the shareholders (speakers) featured in the scenario as they found with their class discussion notes, in the module unit videos, in the module unit slides, in the concept maps, in the Urban Farmer interview, and the "Food for Us" report from Activity 3.2.
Students will submit a written analysis of the Unit 3 Community Food Conversation Scenario (Acrobat (PDF) 36kB Aug14 17).
Teaching Notes and Tips
Instructors should utilize the reference materials to familiarize themselves with urban agriculture as an example of food in action. The primary references share systems thinking approaches and perspectives to urban agriculture. Unit 3 references and resources articulate urban agriculture and its implications and consequences in a clear and concise manner as a foundational approach to healthy communities. This presentation style and content is readily accessible to students. The video illustrates the powerful connections established by growing and distributing food to people, schools, and businesses in a community.
In a written analysis in Activity 3.3, students will give the perspectives and arguments of eight community stakeholders from "The Community Food Conversation Scenario."
This scenario is centered on the dynamics of a food system and its challenges. Working in small groups is encouraged for this assignment Unit 3 Summative Assessment Rubric (Acrobat (PDF) 164kB May1 17). Scenario answer key:
References and Resources
Resources Used in the Unit
19. Food for Us — We're All at the Table Together: Report on the Leon County Sustainable Communities Summit held January 24, 2015 http://www.growinggreen.org/portals/7/docs/FoodForUs.pdf
20. Food Policy Councils: Integrating Food Justice and Environmental Justice. Danielle M. Purifoy. Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum. 2014. Vol. XXIV:375–398.
Additional References and Resources
21. Principles for Framing a Healthy Food System, Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition. Michael W. Hamm. 2009. 4:3-4, 241-250, DOI:10.1080/19320240903321219.
22. Realizing Justice in Local Food Systems. Patricia Allen. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society. 2010. 3, 295–308. doi:10.1093/cjres/rsq015
23. Robert Bullard. Environmental Justice. The Praxis Project. (time – 3:51 seconds)
24. Environmental Justice Meets the Food We Eat. Stanford University Journalism. (time - 3:25 seconds)http://peninsulapress.com/2015/03/02/environmental-justice-food/