Join the conversation! Here's what folks are saying about "What's On Your Plate?" Share your thoughts too, as well as your recipes and questions. Recipes will also be added to our blog. And teachers, you have your own space to brainstorm the best ways to use the film modules and curriculum. What works best? What other activities do you suggest? How have your students responded? Be a part of it! Thanks!

Rochester, NY
Teacher's Corner
My class and I have just finished reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, Young Readers Edition. This film was an excellent way to culminate this unit! We have been traveling to farmer's markets, talking with farmers and scientists, as well as creating our own recipes from scratch (including an awesome hot cocoa recipe made without sugar). I am now planning on inviting a chef to come and speak with the class about being creative and healthy when cooking. Thanks to the girls for this amazing film! The kids were really inspired by you!

Teacher's Corner
We have a farm in this area where I do programs for home schoolers, new york city public and private schools, local schools, adult and children programs, etc. I suggested my local district's 5th grade elementary school teachers consider going on a trip to the farm with their students. (I have been involved with the school food issue of this district for many years with limited success. I have held cooking classes, gotten the teachers to create a small garden, etc, over the years, but making a dent in the actual lunch program has been a long haul. Nevertheless, whenever I see a new opportunity, I try.) Unfortunately, they couldn't arrange a trip, but they asked if I could bring the farm to them. Hmm. So, I created a "growing sustainability" syllabus, and since I was going in "cold", I used What's On Your Plate to give the students a preview of the concepts I was to cover.
It is the first time I used a video in any of my programs. I had the three different 5th grade classes watch the three segments with their respective teachers when they could accommodate it in their schedules a few weeks prior to my scheduled visit. I followed up with an hour visit to each class which included a lecture; a slide show I created of the farm showing and explaining the sustainable energy projects there, as well as the crops and chickens; a "show and tell" with compost; organic and treated soils; and a local, seasonal cooking class featuring the beautiful produce from the farm, as well as other local farms. The objectives were met! The best part of course is really seeing how they got it!!! Hopefully those letters to the school administration will happen, and the children will get their parents to the farm stand or farmers market! Also, I pleasantly learned that those children really enjoyed the video and it certainly served the purpose. I requested the teacher's have the students write down while they were watching the video any questions, what struck them, or what they learned that they had not learned before. Although I did not discuss the video during my own presentation, I did get feedback and had them refer to their notes as we were eating our creations, (which also went over really well - they all love asparagus, who would've thought!).
All in all, having the video was a great precursor to my in house project and got them on board prior to my arrival, while giving them a broader picture of the whole food movement outside of their own county. I'll keep you up to date of any other projects where I make use your materials...

New York, NY
Teacher's Corner
I showed the first part of the film to my 4th grade students who attend private school in NYC. They have been learning about global warming and how food can contribute to greenhouse gases (via transportation, pesticides, fertilizers and packaging). We are growing a veggie garden on our green roof which we plan to harvest and make into a "green pizza" on the last day of school. The kids were very captivated by the film, particularly as narrated by two NYC school girls. They were also interested in seeing the cafeteria of a public school and hearing other kids interviewed on food habits. They loved the focus on "Funyons"! It's an excellent and timely film that covers A LOT of ground. Thank you.

New York, NY
Teacher's Corner
Matt's Calorie Experiment featured in the film


  • Test Tube
  • 20 mL water
  • Test-tube tongs
  • Thermometer
  • Aluminum pan
  • Metal Skewer
  • Stopwatch
  • Lighter or Matches
  • Walnut (or any nut)
  • Marshmallow (or any candy)
  • Funyun (or any chip)
  • Pencil

Procedure (As seen in Movie):

  1. Place students in groups of 4
  2. Assign each student in each group one of four jobs: test tube holder; food holder; time watcher; data recorder.
  3. Once each job has been assigned, the test tube holder should go to the sink and fill the beaker with 20mL of water.
  4. Tell the test tube holder to place the thermometer in the water. The data recorder should record the initial temperature of the water in degrees Celsius in the data sheet under “Initial Temperature.”
  5. Once the initial temperature has been recorded, the test tube holder should hold the tube with the test tube tongs.
  6. Next, tell the food holder to place the marshmallow on the metal skewer, and hold it over the aluminum pan (to prevent mess).
  7. When the food holder is in position, the test tube should be held just above the marshmallow (See Film for Visual).
  8. When all students are in position, the teacher can light the marshmallow using the lighter.
  9. The time-watcher should start the stopwatch as soon as the marshmallow is lit.
  10. The time-watcher should stop the watch when the fire goes out. If the marshmallow falls off of the skewer into the aluminum pan but is still burning, time is not up.
  11. The data recorder should record in the data table the amount of time the marshmallow burned. The burning marsmallow will have caused the temperature of the water in the tube to rise, so the temperature of the water at the time the marshmallow stopped burning should also be recorded under “Temperature Two.”
  12. Once all information has been recorded, spill the hot water out of the tube into the sink and get another fresh 20mL.
  13. Repeat procedure for walnut and funyun.

Data Sheet:

Food Item Initial Temperature of Water (°C) Temperature Two (°C) Time Item Burned

Brooklyn, NY
Teacher's Corner

My students' comments were mostly positive, in terms of admiration for the two narrators of the film, whose intelligence, curiosity and activism they deeply admired. In fact, they expressed some shame at being older yet not as involved in issues affecting them as Safiyah and Sadie. There was some discussion about the differences they perceived between themselves and the girls in terms of background, family life and environment and how these might partly account for the gaps in awareness of health issues, access to people and information, etc.

I explained that part of the reason I chose the film was for its depiction of the "whole food" (or "food justice" or call it what you will) movement as one cutting across age, class, gender, national and ethnic boundaries and uniting people in the common goal of accessing the safe, healthy, affordable and sustainable food supply that is our right. Many of the other films I had to chose from failed to convey this, and some proposed solutions I found difficult to, well, swallow. I much prefer the strategy of supporting small farmers, for instance, than that of focusing on getting organic food into Walmart. Along these lines, I would love to see a film explore the formation of member-owned food co-ops that use multiple members' labor, committment and buying power to encourage ecologically and socially informed, responsible consumption and to allow people access to these products affordably.

In short, the film facilitated a rich and timely discussion. I'm thankful to have seen it just when I did and to have been able to share it with my students. Very best of luck to you all in getting it out there.

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