What have you eaten today? Where did it come from? What about last night’s dinner? The wheat that makes your bread or pasta may have come from the United States (US); some of the fruit in the supermarket comes from other Caribbean islands and South America; and some of the meat comes from the US or Europe, but was fed with grains imported from Brazil. Your rice and tea may have come all the way from Asia. Maybe you eat tasty fruit and vegetables from your own garden, and share with neighbours and friends. If you’re lucky, your school may have a vegetable garden where you and your classmates can grow herbs, fruits and veggies!
On October 16, we mark World Food Day, and it’s a great time for kids (and adults) to learn more about the food we eat. As we can see, even a single dinner plate contains ingredients from many different places. Those ingredients had to be grown, harvested, processed, transported and distributed. Lots of different people played a part in that whole process.
World Food Day brings attention to the big picture, and wants us all to make the food system better. The food system is very much connected to the economy and the environment. Each element influences the other, and our food choices help to shape the big picture, too!
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has put together an activity book, just for kids, that lets you explore this world of food and how all of these puzzle pieces fit together. It’s written in a fun way and has lots of pictures that help to tell the story. The activity book is available for free online, and is also available in other languages like Spanish and French.
Kids from all over the world are also invited to join the World Food Day Poster Contest. After learning all about agriculture and the journey of food, you can use your imagination and artistic skills to create a poster that tells a story about the topic. Have an adult help you to scan or take a picture of your poster and upload it on the FAO website. The contest is open to anyone ages 5-19, from anywhere in the world.
The contest is already open, and the deadline for entries is November 5. Winners will be announced in December. They will be promoted by FAO social media and offices around the world, and receive a surprise gift bag and Certificate of Recognition.
To access the free PDF activity book, have an adult visit www.fao.org/documents/card/en/c/cb5047en. For more information on the poster contest, go to www.fao.org/world-food-day/youth/contest/en/. The entry can be uploaded there, too. Make sure to read all of the contest rules before joining!