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Series Info

Episodes: 4

Length: 15 min.

Grade Levels:
5, 6, 7, 8

Language Arts and Literature

From Land to Landfill: A Systems Perspective

The From Land to Landfill: A Systems Perspective curriculum employs four video programs, computer-based instruction, and interactive projects to help students develop a systems perspective of how we obtain our food today and how we will continue to get food. The series is flexible and can be adapted to the needs of individual teachers and students. The curriculum is designed to be an integrated multi-media system, but the videos are self-contained and can be used independently of the other components.

Episode Guide

1. Overview of the Food System — It takes a whole system to provide food for a population. A system is a group of parts which work together to achieve a defined purpose. A garden is a simple food system with only a few steps: Production, processing, consumption, and waste disposal.

2. The Packaging System — Packaging has advantages because it helps make food available year-round, it helps keep foods safe to eat, and it enables people to be busy outside the home. Packaging also has drawbacks because natural resources and energy are used to make packages, packaged foods may be less nutritious, and disposal of packaging can hurt the environment.

3. Hunger and the Food System — Sending food cannot by itself solve a hunger problem. One must work on the whole food system. Examples of hunger in other countries include: Ireland, where crop failure led to a potato famine in the 1800s; Ethiopia, where drought, politics, and war contributed to famine in the 1980s; and Bosnia, where war and politics have prevented the distribution of food in the 1990s.

4. Sustainability of the Food System — Sustainable agriculture produces food in ways that satisfy current human needs while protecting the environment to provide for future generations. Examples of sustainable practices include the rotation of crops, the diversification of crops, and the reduction of pesticide use. A sustainable food system provides adequate amounts of nutritious food for everyone, while protecting the economic needs of farmers and protecting the farmland for agricultural uses. Convenience and quality need not be incompatible with sustainable agriculture.

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