In Super Transport Touch to See book we include a Sainsbury’s delivery lorry. It’s not “super” in the sense that it travels at lightning speed or can travel underwater. No, it just travels a super-long way up and down the country transporting food to your local supermarket.
Here’s an activity all about food miles, to help you learn about the distance various foods travel from producer to consumer – not just by lorry but by plane, train and boat.
Next time you’re doing your weekly shop, think about where the food you buy has come from and how many miles it has travelled. Why don’t you plot the journey of these items, find out some interesting statistics and let us know the results! Here are some examples of food stuffs to get you started.
Bananas. What countries are they grown in? How far can they travel from the tree to your fruit bowl? What forms of transport are they carried in?
Rice is grown in paddy fields but can you find out in which countries? Check the back of a packet of rice in your kitchen cupboard. How far was the journey from paddy field to supermarket shelf? What forms of transport was it carried in?
A lovely green lettuce. Can you find out if it was grown locally or if it travelled far in a refrigerated trailer? To help reduce your carbon footprint why not grow your own lettuces? All you need is a packet of seeds, some soil, a pot and a sunny window ledge – don’t forget to water regularly.
How about a nice cup of tea? What country were the tea leaves in your tea bags picked in? How far did the tea travel from plant to the supermarket shelf?
Make a world food miles tactile map
You will need:
a large map of the world, like a poster
some foods e.g. bananas, rice, blueberries, grapes, tomatoes, tea
some model toy lorries, boats, trains
lengths of string
Lay the map flat on the floor and pin point your location with a large button and Blue-tack.
Discuss the packaging of each food – what details are on there, does it tell you the country of origin? Discuss the conditions in which the food was grown, what do you know about the country, what is the climate, is the item Fair Trade?
Now map the journey and calculate the miles. Place the food object on the map, on its country of origin. Now plot the route to your location with string and Blue-tack.
Research how it might have travelled – air, road, sea, rail? Discuss which countries, continents or oceans it travelled across.
Now calculate the journey in miles – maybe use the internet (such as Google Maps) to research and work out the distance.