Food security



Food security refers to the availability and accessibility of food and is an issue that affects everyone. It is a lively and engaging topic that connects with young people's geography and personal experiences. It is also a potentially controversial issue and, like all such issues, requires some sensitivity when taught in the classroom.

The units in this course contain a range of ready made activities and resources that can be used as they are, or adapted to challenge and inspire your students. It will also introduce you to a variety of online tools and other sources that can be used to resource what is a constantly changing topic. In addition, you will be guided through the production and evaluation of a multimedia classroom presentation, which could form the basis of a student assessment.

The different elements of the course have been designed to connect with themes and content in the updated 9-1 GCSE geography and A level specifications for September 2016.

This course connects with the CPD unit on The Geography of Food, which look at some of the wider issues regarding food production and consumption, and could provide additional context for this course. Please note, however, that this area of the website has been archived and will not be updated further.

As with all of the GA’s online CPD courses, you may choose to work through the entire course or choose the units that seem most useful and appropriate to you for your teaching situation.

World Food Day in 2016 had the tagline: ‘Climate is changing, food and agriculture must too’. We will explore these issues as we move through the unit.

How has food security changed since 2010?

Food security has declined since 2010. An increasing number of people are

  • relying on land which is declining in fertility
  • water supplies which are dwindling or facing competition in the future
  • lifestyle changes which place a growing demand on the need to increase the production of certain foods.

At the same time, there is a huge problem of food waste, amounting to up to a third of all food being waste. Some changes have been made in this area, e.g. a ruling involving French supermarkets and waste food was passed during 2016.

How secure is the future of food?

In the UK, the use of food banks has continued to grow over the last few years, and became a political issue in the run up to the last general election. The original resource introduced the work of the Trussell Trust, and there has been a dramatic increase in the demand for their services, with new food banks opening up, and now over a million people having need of their services – see the Unit on Food Aid. The Trussell Trust website has been upgraded to include an interactive map.

The Future of Food is a resource developed by the education team at National Geographic. It has a focus on the US and related countries but suggests that we may face growing food insecurity in the future, which may even be a cause for future conflicts.

This food security course was originally written in 2010 with the support of the Training and Development Agency (TDA), then updated in 2016. Its focus is CPD: it is designed as an opportunity for teachers to update their thinking on this important global issue, using and reflecting on the materials as a way of informing their practice.

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Course Units

Many thanks to Oxfam for their permission to use their images that illustrate this course. Particular thanks go to John McLaverty for his cooperation with The Perfect Storm unit.

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