What's the problem?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s definition of food security is “access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life.” Food security comprises several different components, including food access, distribution of food, the stability of the food supply, and the use of food. The opposite of food security - food insecurity - defined by the USDA as, “a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.”
It is estimated that by the year 2050, the world must feed 9 billion people.The demand for food will be 60% greater than it is today. According to the U.S. Department of State’s Global Food Security Strategy Plan, “the increasing challenge of changing climate patterns and extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, and extended periods of extreme temperatures pose major challenges to global food security”.
Why should we care?
Miami-Dade County’s agricultural industry is one of the most diverse in the country. Our tropical climate provides us with a year-round growing season, as well as the ability to produce an extremely wide range of crops. Our reliance on agriculture, not only for survival but also economic prosperity, shows the need for sustainable agriculture practices.
“Sustainable agriculture integrates environmental health, economic viability, and social equity to ensure long-term productivity of natural resources and improved livelihoods. It helps reduce the risks in developing countries of complex problems...” (USAID). Coming up with new food production practices is necessary due to the climate challenge of continued stress on ecosystems, marine environments, fisheries and the land, water, and natural resource base upon which productive agriculture relies.
What can we do?
The United Nations has set ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture as the second of its Sustainable Development Goals for the year 2030. New tools and approaches for increasing agricultural productivity, monitoring and managing threats and risks, better managing and governing natural resources related to the food supply, adapting to the effects of a changing climate, and mitigating greenhouse gases, are needed in order to plan for the future.
More and more schools are beginning to source food locally and are creating garden-based and agriscience curriculum to teach children about food, farming, and nutrition. There are a growing number of opportunities for parents and students to purchase locally grown fresh foods at local farmers markets. Such movements as “farm to table” have become more popular and schools are incorporating well-maintained vegetable gardens that help to teach students the importance of understanding our food systems.
Green Schools Challenge Activities:
- Community Building (Pre-K through 1st grade) - Eat Your Colors
- Hands On Learning (2nd through 3rd grade) - Farm to Table
- Lab Activity (4th through 5th grade) - Just Keep Swimming
- Create Your Own (Pre-K through 5th grade) - Submit Lesson Plan click here
Schools can choose to do more than one activity but maximum amount of points a school can earn for this topic is the same. Points for participation will be based on a rubric. Download here.
Additional Lesson Ideas: Whole Kids Foundation & American Heart Association - School Garden Lesson Plans