How did that get in my lunchbox?

At the heart of what we do is the knowing that kids need, and deserve, to know where their food comes from.

But what does that really mean, and how do we achieve it?

We’ve all heard a similar story to the student who asked if chocolate milk comes from brown cows (true story if you’re an agriculture educator).

However, most kids understand that milk comes from cows, apples grow on trees and corn grows in the field. Students often know that food is grown on farms, but may have very little understanding of what happens to food between the farm and the grocery store, or what natural ingredients, whether from plants or animals, are used to make some of our favorite foods.

Teaching about the ‘food system’ can seem overwhelming, and rightly so.

The food system spans the activities, people and resources involved in getting food from field to plate. Along the way, it intersects with aspects of public health, equity and the environment, which can make for engaging and challenging learning opportunities. The complex nature of our food system can make it a difficult study for younger learners, without a dedicated unit of study.

That’s why we love the short, illustrated book ‘How Did That Get in my Lunchbox’ by Chris Butterworth. This read-aloud book helps elementary students (best for grade 2-4) explore how common lunchbox foods are produced, how these foods get to their plate, and explore the question ‘Where does our food come from?’. Making the connection between food and where it comes from can lead to healthier eating choices, a better appreciation for agriculture and an understanding of a student’s own connection to the larger food system.

We’ve compiled some discussion questions to diver deeper into the lessons and learning presented in this book, as well as some printable activities for students to explore food chain activities for their lunchbox foods. Check them out below!

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