Module 5: Food
Ideas for Extension
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What to do:
This Activity was designed for schools in Wales but could easily be adapted for another area which has a sense of regional or national identity.
Brainstorm as a class to find out what pupils perceive as being ‘Welsh’ food. Suggestions might include lamb, cawl, Welsh cakes and laverbread. You could incorporate this activity with a field trip to the supermarket or a tourist souvenir shop to collect examples of Welsh branded food. This might throw up some interesting examples, Welsh Brew tea, or Welsh humbugs for instance. Analyse the products to assess what criteria have been used to define them as being ‘Welsh.’ Were the ingredients grown in Wales? Was it produced in Wales? Is it a product that might appear in other parts of Britain, for example a box of fudge labelled ‘A souvenir from Wales’ which might be the same as one labelled ‘A souvenir from the Cotswolds’? Discuss reasons behind the ‘Welsh’ branding, and set up a debate to explore the pupils opinions about marketing. This activity can be used as an introduction to the next one.
Welsh food through the ages
Use current and historical maps of the region to discover how land was used to grow food in the past. If possible use other sources of information too. Interview elderly people and use research to find out how food was produced after the war. What kind of tasks did people have to do? If possible, interview farmers as well to find out if and how farming practices have changed over recent years. There is a commonly held belief that sheep farming has been the only kind of agriculture practiced in Wales for centuries. It is also commonly believed that much of the land in Wales is only suitable for sheep farming. In reality, in fairly recent history various types of oats and grains were cultivated in Wales. Even sheep farmers devoted part of their land to growing staple crops such as beans, blackcurrants, potatoes and rhubarb. Try and find out why changes to farming have taken place, and why sheep farming holds such cultural significance in Wales. Try and find examples of vegetable and grain production in upland areas.
If time and facilities allow, the cake comparison activity will have more relevance for the pupils if they are able to bake their own cakes in advance, either at home or in school. If possible, involve them in decisions about where to buy the ingredients. The home made cake will inevitably end up having a smaller footprint than the shop bought one, but if the pupils make an attempt to source organic or local ingredients then they will already be engaged with the issues that will arise from the activity.
It is a useful activity to allow pupils to design their own lunchbox contents. Younger pupils will benefit from a template, for example a cardboard cut out lunchbox on which they can draw or stick pictures.
Older pupils will be able to develop this as a research project and find out more about the impacts of specific ingredients. This is an ideal opportunity to involve parents, as for many pupils the choice is out of their hands.
Pupils will be familiar with healthy eating messages and the healthy eating plates or pyramid posters. Allow them to spend some time designing a sustainable food pyramid. Now compare them to healthy eating pyramids, or plates. They will discover that a sustainable diet is almost identical to a healthy one – rich in whole grains, pulses and fresh fruit and vegetables, low in meat and dairy and processed foods.