Food Literacy and Food-Based Experiential Learning Resources in a Time of COVID-19

In this unprecedented time of school closures, what resources are schools and organizations using to provide food literacy and food-based experiential learning?

The following list has come from of our Webinar on Food Literacy Opportunities for Children and Youth while schools are closed and other correspondence. Please let us know if you have any resources to contribute!

1. Get Growing

Activity Description Audience
Growing Chefs! at home garden lessons: Garden Lesson and Talk 1: What is Soil? Interactive video about soil and starting seeds; how to make a windowsill garden (13 min) Elementary
Ecosource’s Jardin de l’Éducation resource Bilingual guide with many garden activities that can be teacher-led or assigned (e.g. story to read aloud and guide students through the motions of emerging from a seed; growing pea shoots; making seed paper; etc…) Elementary
Ecosource’s Grown in Mississauga Training Manual This guide was developed by youth for youth. Teachers can pull out different sections to assign to students (covers both indoor and outdoor gardens). E.g. “selecting a garden space” (indoor or outdoor), “testing your soil”… Middle / High School
Loving Spoonful’s Grow Project – Module 1A: Seeds & Germination ; Module 2: GROWing Good Food ; Module 4: Garden Care Made for this learning at home time period: Activities, videos and resources re: seed germination, growing peas and beans, pollination, garden care, and gardening at home Grades 4-8
Little Green Thumbs’s resources These resources offer tips to link gardening activities to the curriculum (Math, Science, Art, Language Arts).
Resource: Seed Starting Log
FoodShare Activity: Build a Bee Condo ; Build a Pop Bottle Planter Guides you through how to make a bee condo with recycled materials
Make a pop bottle planter to grow seeds
Linked to Grades 4-6 Curriculum
Forsythe Family Farms: Online Farm Education Video Packages Curriculum-linked lessons from the Forsythe Family Farm (paid). Investigate the basic needs and characteristics of living things focusing on farm animals and plants; learn about honeybees and the eggs we eat; Dig deeper into sustainability. Pre-School to Grade 4
For More Exploration
Growing Up Organic (Ottawa): Curriculum linked garden based education Planning the garden
Seed Starting
Direct Seeding
Seed Saving
Soil and Compost
Linked to grades 3-10 and possible to adapt from K-12.

French and English (School Garden Support in the US) LOTS of garden resources from the US – e.g. Build a Newspaper Pot to Plant Seeds


2. Get Cooking

Activity Description Audience
Recipe cards with Local Ingredients: Foodland Ontario’s Kid Corner ; Equiterre local food recipe & activity cards These food cards include facts about local fruits and vegetables and seasonal recipes All
FoodShare’s Tasting Graph – pages 11 and 12 Use for taste tests to graph and compare different qualities in food (e.g. tartness, sweetness, crunchiness) All
Kid Food Nation  Contains a wide variety of lessons – Food Skills, Recipes, Tips, many developed by kids for kids: Knife Skills ; How to Read a Nutrition Label All
FoodShare Toronto’s Great Big Crunch Toolkits Contains great apple/carrot -based activities ideas that could be assigned, e.g.: Worksheets to explore apples with your senses ; Apple fractions ; Apple literacy ; Exploring the importance of farmland by dissecting an apple Elementary
Project CHEF Shares 65+ recipes including step-by-step photos to follow; 30+ cross-curriculuar lessons on growing, cooking, experimenting and sharing food; cooking skills videos including knife safety, and suggested books. Elementary
Pilot Light – the Food Education Centre (US) Has some great family lesson plans (cooking along with writing / math activities etc…) E.g. Scrambled eggs & Common Core Writing Elementary
Loving Spoonful’s Grow Project – Module 5: Salad Celebration Made for this learning at home time period: Activities, videos and resources re: harvesting spring vegetables and making a salad Grades 4-8


3. Explore Your Food

Activity Description Audience
Explore a Rainbow of Foods with Rainbow Plate These 10-20 min videos guide students through exploring a rainbow of healthy foods using all our senses; invites students to become Rainbow Food Explorers. Preschool & Elementary
Reflecting on Food: Mindful Eating activity from the Edible Schoolyard Provides a set of questions and a sound recording to guide students through mindful eating All
Mindful Eating Sound Recording Guides you through a process of mindful eating All
Growing Chefs! at home garden lessons: Lesson 2: Become a Food Explorer! ; Lesson 3: What Vegetables Do for Us Lesson 2 guides students through exploring their foods with all of their senses (6 min)
Lesson 3 guides students through thinking about the vitamins and nutrients in food (9 min)
Fresh Roots’ Veggie Printing Guide Explore your food with your senses and make veggie prints Elementary


4. Compost & Manage Food Waste

Activity Description Audience
FoodShare Activity: Build a Worm Bin Linked to Grades 4-6 Curriculum
Food Matters Action Kit Hands-on activities for ages 5-13 from rescuing food to composting – activities for students to take action on food waste. Activities that can be assigned include “create an ugly fruit or vegetable superhero comic”; food waste audit. Elementary / Middle
Loving Spoonful’s Grow Project: Module 3: Wondrous Worms Made for this learning at home time period: Activities and videos re: worms and vermi-composting for beginners Grades 4-8


5. Connect with your Neighbourhood and Planet

Loving Spoonful’s Grow Project – Module 1B: Climate Change- Some Smart Strategies Made for home activities, videos and resources to explore the connection between soil and climate change. Grades 7-8
Fresh Roots – Play Spring Bingo! A bingo card to explore the signs of spring Elementary
Fresh Roots – Food and Farmworkers Check out this Plant Money podcast to explore this complex topic High School
Captain Planet Foundation – Resources for Learning at Home (US) Interactive websites that focus on the environment, some on food such as: Project Hero Pollinator Quest ; Project Hero Soil Quest All
Karen Washington’s Swiss Chard and White Beans Presentation can spark conversations among students on themes of food justice, food security, etc..:  Middle / High School
Understanding Food and Climate Change – An Interactive Guide  Great interactive resource teaching about the link between Food and Climate Change Middle / High School
iNaturalist Idenfication App Kid-safe mobile app – point it at plants, bugs, birds, etc… to identify and learn all about it! All
Fresh Roots – Exploring Spring Traditions Explore how you celebrate spring and where your traditions come from All


Other resources to explore:

FoodShare Toronto’s Educator Resources
Sustain Ontario’s Greenhouse (a collection of food-based lesson plans linked to the Ontario curriculum)
Growing Minds Day By Day (US) – has some great links to food-related books for elementary students read aloud on YouTube.
Edible Schoolyard Project – Edible Education for the Home Classroom site (US) – one of the best resources for food-related lesson plans out there
Whole Kids Foundation Kids Club