Teaching students about Melbourne’s foodbowl
University of Melbourne researchers have launched a new teacher resource pack designed to support secondary school educators teaching the compulsory year nine geography subject Biomes and Food Security.
Led by Dr Rachel Carey from Foodprint Melbourne, a research project run by an inter-faculty team at the University of Melbourne which looks at the environmental impact of feeding Melbourne, the resource enables students to learn about their own local food growing area, “Melbourne’s foodbowl”, and what they can do to protect food supply.
Developed in partnership with Geography Teachers’ Association of Victoria, Dr Carey said this resource gives teachers credible information to teach this subject in a way that’s engaging and locally relevant.
“We created this resource because we often had teachers and students contacting researchers, wanting to know how they could use local information to teach this geography unit,” Dr Carey said.
“Students learn about challenges to farming in this area, including conflict between urban use and farmland, and the likely impacts of climate change,” she said.
“This also includes understanding that Melbourne’s city fringe farmland is an important source of food for the city, particularly for vegetables.”
In addition, students learn about unique opportunities for city-fringe farmland, such as access to recycled water.
“Based on our research, we’ve created topics that encourage students to consider innovative options to ensure Melbourne’s food security and brainstorm how they can play a part in protecting Melbourne’s future food supply.”
The free research pack can be downloaded online and includes worksheets, videos and geographic information system (GIS) maps that enable students to explore what types of foods grow in different regions of Melbourne's foodbowl.
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