A Taste of Change:
Shaping Sustainable Food Systems
Topics: food and culture; the food “footprint”, history of food systems, agricultural technologies, food chains/webs, energy and food systems, price vs. cost, subsidies and food policy, globalization, local economies
Disciplines: biology, earth science, geography/global studies, health, civics, language arts, math, economics, history, environmental science.
Career Connections: agriculture, nutrition, hospitality, public health, marketing, business, entrepreneurship, economics, environmental policy, international law
Audience: grades PK-5, 6-8, 9-12, higher ed, adult ed
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Level I programs introduce new ways of reframing content and instruction through a lens of sustainable food systems. Participants envision and define possibilities for change as they experience approaches they can replicate in their own classes. A typical package includes:
Example: An educational institution is seeking ways to link student health and academic achievement with community engagement, and wants to explore “sustainable food systems” as a possible theme for reframing curriculum. In a two-day workshop, Creative Change engages teachers in hands-on activities that explore these connections. Food and culture, community food systems, and the food “footprint” are among the topics explored. Educators review age-specific curricula and resources, and evaluate ways the approaches can be integrated into existing instruction to meet achievement goals.
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Our Plan the Change programs provide 3-6 months of strategic planning to help institutions define goals, strategies, evaluation, and a timeline. The work is guided by our Instruction Change framework, a needs assessment tool that examines institutional culture, curriculum, professional development, and other factors affecting the successful integration of sustainability.
Example: After collecting data on faculty impressions and interests, Creative Change meets with the leadership team to develop a plan for integrating sustainability into the curriculum in ways that support existing initiatives.
Level III programs provide professional development, curriculum licensing and ongoing support focused on revising curriculum, courses and programs. Spread over a year or more, a typical package includes:
Example: After completing the Level I program, the same institution works with Creative Change to map out a year-long initiative focused on reframing core units around Ecological Footprint themes of human-environmental interactions, sustainability, and related economic and cultural issues. The initiative unfolds over a calendar year in three steps: A) on-site professional development, B) on-going support for instructional redesign, and C) evaluation and communication.
Workshops begin by immersing teachers in content knowledge and research-based pedagogical strategies. To model effective approaches, the sessions engage staff in hands-on activities they can replicate with their students, followed by thoughtful analysis and discussion. Approaches include:
Through these activities, educators define how food systems can serve as context for improving learning. Staff then evaluates existing units or courses and set goals for creating "makeovers." A science teacher integrates ways humans have altered natural systems through the use of fossil fuels. A world history instructor focuses on tracing technology used in food systems use over time, and identifying the cultural views affecting this. A math teacher sees opportunities to calculate the amount of fossil fuels used in different meals, while the economics instructor analyzes hidden subsidies that make fast food artificially inexpensive. All efforts integrate social equity by exploring access to healthy food.
The PD now shifts to the on-the-ground work of redesigning the units. Creative Change’s approach to instructional design provides educators with a process and framework for planning units that unfold as a narrative. Multimedia curriculum resources from the on-line Curriculum and Resource Center support teachers as they
As faculty continue their work in a learning community approach, Creative Change provides on-going planning and evaluation support through phone, email, and in-person meetings. Support strategies include unit planning, developing assessments, and evaluation support.
By the end of the year, the educators’ efforts have resulted in a collection of instructional modules that demonstrate best practices in content and pedagogy. The faculty has evaluated the impacts of its work and wants to replicate the approaches in other areas of the curriculum. To support this, Creative Change compiles pictures, reports, presentations and other documentation in order to communicate results and provide models for replication. Based on the success of the work, the collaboration with Creative Change grows to other departments or schools through a Level IV program.
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Level IV programs enable schools and districts to build internal capacity and institutionalize successful approaches. Clients gain training, resources and strategic planning assistance focused on preparing an internal team to lead, evaluate, and sustain instructional change. These packages, spread over a year or more, typically include