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Activity #1: Field to Table — Follow the Path of Food from the Farm to Your Kitchen
This activity examines the complex matrix of transportation and economics that delivers our food to us. Each stop along the way from the field to your table indicates interrelated industries employing various specialists in the task of getting your product to you.

  • Invite a local truck farmer, farmer's market sponsor or green grocer in to your classroom to discuss how their produce gets from the field to the market. Ask them to discuss the process from harvesting, to packing, to shipping, to distribution as indicated in the Ask an Expert section of the Field to Table worksheet.
  • In preparation for the visit, ask your students to identify the origin of their favorite fruit or vegetable. Students should record their discoveries in section one of the Field to Table worksheet.

    Here are some questions they can pursue:
    • Where did your fruit or vegetable originate?
      The Food Timeline — Colorful histories of every imaginable food are detailed in this compelling resource. http://www.foodtimeline.org/
    • Is the food grown in New York? Discover which New York counties are producing the top quantities of fruits and vegetables in Top Counties Maps.
      If so, identify the counties where it is grown. If not, identify where it is grown.
    • When is it harvested? Discover seasonal availability of New York State Fruits and Vegetables on Seasonality Charts.

    Find links to farm fresh producers in your region at the Community, Food, and Agriculture Program website: http://www.cfap.org/afs_temp3.cfm?topicID=444
    • Following the visit, have the students create a timeline tracing their product's journey from the farm to your table. How much time elapses from the time it is harvested to the time it is consumed? How many industries are employed in the process?