Food and drink workshop activities

A variety of activities that can be used to explore some of the issues surrounding food production.

These workshop activities can be used to help achieve the following objectives:

  • To raise awareness of where and how our food is produced
  • To consider the environmental, economic and ethical issues involved, in particular food miles and climate change;
  • To encourage buying locally produced food to support the local economy and environment.

They also allow for a wide range of curriculum links, as follows:

Geography: Ask questions, collect, record and analyse evidence; explain different views; use maps; decision-making; interdependence of people and supply of goods (food); understand environmental change and sustainable development; global warming

Science: nutrition and healthy diet; plant life processes and classification; living things in their environment need protection

PSHE/Citizenship: debate topical issues; allocation of resources; healthy eating and making informed choices; take responsibility; make choices and decisions; consider social and moral dilemmas

ECM: be healthy; make a positive contribution


Workshop activity

Resources needed and useful links

 Apple earth


Aim: to realise that there is only a limited amount of land on earth where food can be grown

1. The apple represents planet earth

2. Cut it into quarters: three quarters represent the sea so discard them as food cannot be grown there.

3. Cut the remaining quarter in half. Discard one piece as this represents deserts, mountains etc

4. Peel the skin from the remaining eighth - this is all the  land available for farming and feeding 60 billion people.

(To continue our present lifestyle and use of resources, most people in UK would need the equivalent of two apples or planet earths, the USA three, India and Africa less than one - at the moment.)

Apple, knife and plate

 Guess the veg


Aim: to familiarise pupils with the names of vegetables, develop sensory skills and vocabulary

1. Taking turns, one child in each group describes a vegetable hidden in a bag to the rest of the group
using all the senses eg shape, feel, colour, smell etc.

2. Others guess after three descriptions.

3. If not guessed, say how you would eat it, cook it.

4.Swap bags and repeat.

Variation: Two children sit back to back.One describes a veg or fruit, the other draws it. Swap.

Six bags each with a different vegetable (or enough for all the groups in the class plus one spare)



 Where on earth has our food come from?


Aim: to find out where food is produced and to consider
the environmental, ethical and economic issues in transporting food long distances.

1. Where do we get our food from?  (supermarkets, local shops, petrol stations, farmers' markets, grow your own etc)

Where did it  come from before it got to the shop? (grown/produced/reared on farms all over the world)

Can use this activity to follow the guess the veg game. Child puts veg from bag on table according to where it was produced - UK or abroad. (consult with group).

2. Working one group at a time, each child takes a
food and puts it on the UK or abroad table. Look at labels for clues.

3. How far has food travelled?

Explain food miles are the distance food has travelled from where it was grown to where it is eaten - from field to fork. In pairs,choose a food - Where
was it grown or 
produced? Which country?

Measure the food miles from that country to the UK using rulers, atlases or world maps. Explain scale. Note some atlases are in km; 1000km = approx. 600 miles. (Can do this as whole class using large world map or globe and sticky dots.)

4. Record on sheet. Can write or draw food on map in
country of origin, or put sticky dot.

5. Working with the whole class, ask each group Which food travelled furthest and which least?

6. Teacher records in order of distance on flip chart or whiteboard; and/or make 'distance travelled line' by getting pupils to arrange selected food in order on the table.

7. What transport is used to get the food from the farms to our shops ? (planes, boats, lorries, trains)

8. Explain that the further food has come from, the
more fuel was used. Why is this bad for the planet? (burning fossil fuels causes CO2 emissions that contribute to climate change and global warming; also uses non-renewable fuels; adds to cost).

9. If ther is time, discuss the pros and cons of importing food; use flip chart . (There are pros eg varied diet)

10. How can we reduce our impact on the environment? (Buy more food produced closer to home).

Are there other benefits to this? (Supports local economy;
may be able to see where food grown)

11. Consider other factors when buying food: Environmental damage - loss of habitats. Fair trade - were workers fairly paid? Welfare - Were animals
well treated? The amount of packaging. Is it safe for us? Is it healthy for us?

12. Lastly, eat some fruit and veg !!

A variety of fresh fruit and veg, packaged and tinned foods from UK and abroad.

Two tables, or one table diveded into two sections

Two labels - 'UK' and 'Abroad'

Rulers, sticky dots

Atlases or A3 copies of world maps (one per pair) or large, class world map or globe

Flip chart or white board

Worksheet -Where on earth has our food come from? See Why Farming Matters pack 

Selection of prepared fruit
and veg


Additional supporting materials and websites

Why Farming Matters classroom activities for KS2 Farming and Countryside Education - good resources andinformation
including Buzz sustainability game

Access to resources, places to visit and experts to ask healthy eating and wheat to
bread resources - organic farming - measure your
ecological and carbon footprint

This resource was produce by the late Mo Braham, former Education Manager, Over Farm, Gloucester, with Gloucestershire  Environmental  Education, putting sustainability education into practice