Lesson:
4/10
Standards Aligned:
Yes
Debate Plate: Introduction to Food Systems and Choices
Place of Learning: 
Indoor Classroom
Grade Level: 
Grade 8
Contributor

ESY Berkeley Teaching Staff
Edible Schoolyard Project
Berkeley, CA

Tags: 
Food Access
Food System
Summary: 
In this 8th grade humanities lesson, students read and discuss an article about the Mandela Foods Cooperative (MFC), a small community-run grocery store in West Oakland. Using MFC as a case study, students analyze and discuss the intersections of health, environment, labor, economic inequality, and food access. This is the first lesson in the Debate Plate lesson series, a six-lesson series that focuses on factors and considerations that influence personal food choices and the impacts of those choices.
Student Learning Goals & Objectives: 

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Understand and define a variety of basic vocabulary to do with the theme of food choices and food justice. 
  • Articulate the concept of food choice and give examples of different considerations someone might have when choosing what food to buy or where to shop. 
  • Discuss and give examples of ways in which issues of health, economic status, and food access intersect. 
Assessments: 

During this lesson, students will:

  • Read an article that uses specialized food system vocabulary, refer to a glossary to define words they are unfamiliar with, and use this new vocabulary to answer discussion questions on topics raised by the article. 
  • Discuss reasons that consumers might choose to shop at the Mandela Foods Cooperative. 
  • Debate whether providing healthy food incentives to residents of low-income neighborhoods that excludes certain “unhealthy” foods is fair or not. 
Materials & Prep: 
Materials
  • Printed copies of commentary article 
  • Printed copies of discussion questions and glossary 
  • Debate Plate visual aid 
  • Exit ticket questions (written on board or printed) 
BEFORE YOU BEGIN 
  • Make copies commentary article to hand out
  • Make copies of discussion questions and glossary to hand out
  • Create the visual aid
  • Write on the board or make copies of exit ticket questions
Procedure Steps: 
1
OPENING 

Welcome students and introduce Debate Plate. 

  1. Explain that next week, they’ll begin a week-long unit called “Debate Plate” that examines factors and considerations that influence personal food choices and the impacts of those choices. Today is a preview of the conversations they’ll be having in greater depth next week.
2
READING & DISCUSSION 

Students read a commentary article about the Mandela Food Cooperative in West Oakland. 

  1. Hand-out copies of the article. Point out that the title of the article labels it as a “commentary”. Ask students to define “commentary” and elaborate on what that tells them about the information presented in the article. This is an opinion piece. It is written by an individual with a specific point of view and a purpose in sharing that point of view with an audience.
  2. Hand-out copies of the discussion questions and glossary. Have students read the article — independently, in small groups, or as a class. Point out to students that they can use the glossary as a resource while reading the article.
  3. After students have read the article, use the discussion questions to facilitate a class discussion, either as a full class or in small groups.
3
REFLECTION & CLOSING 

Students complete an exit ticket prompt. 

  1. If you have time, choose one of the following prompts for students to complete as an exit ticket:
    • To me, the motto “food plus people equals power” means…
    • The author argues that the Mandela Foods Cooperative impacts West Oakland in a variety of ways beyond just providing food for people to buy. Think about the store or market where the majority of the food you eat is bought. What are some of the impacts you think this store might have in its neighborhood?
    • The Mandela Foods Cooperative is located in an area with very few other places to buy groceries. Think about the area where you live - how many places to buy groceries are located within walking distance from your home?
  2. Thank students for their participation in the class, and tell them that they’ll continue to dig into connections between food, health, environment, and justice when they go to the kitchen next week.
Download Lesson Materials
Exit Ticket Questions
  • To me, the motto “food plus people equals power” means…
  • The author argues that the Mandela Foods Cooperative impacts West Oakland in a variety of ways beyond just providing food for people to buy. Think about the store or market where the majority of the food you eat is bought. What are some of the impacts you think this store might have on its neighborhood?
  • The Mandela Foods Cooperative is located in an area with very few other places to buy groceries. Think about the area where you live - how many places to buy groceries are located within walking-distance from your home?
Vocabulary: 
  • Commentary
  • Big Box
  • Community-owned
  • Conversely
  • Cooperative
  • Credit Union
  • Entrepreneur
  • Full-service grocery
  • Gentrification
  • Incarcerated
  • Locally-sourced
  • Marginalized
  • Purchasing-incentive
  • Recession
  • Retail-test
  • Revenue
  • Soul Food
  • Stable income

Academic Standards

Common Core State Standards

English Language Arts and Literacy, Grade 8

SL.8.1

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher- led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

 

SL.8.4

Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.

Reading Standards for Informational Text, Grade 8

RSI. 8.2.

Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.

Edible Schoolyard Standards

The Edible Schoolyard Program

Tools

1.01

Engage in structured groups to complete tasks and practice teamwork.

1.02

Make positive contributions to small group discussions.

1.03

Communicate relevant questions to classmates; build language and listening skills by practicing self-control, self-awareness, and noticing our impact on others.

 

Contributors: 

All lessons at the Edible Schoolyard Berkeley are a collaboration between the teachers and staff of the Edible Schoolyard and Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School.