Food origins (11-14 Years)

This area covers: food is grown, reared or caught; methods of food processing and how food is sold for use and consumption.

Food origins

Food is sourced, processed and sold in different ways.

Our food has to be grown, reared or caught. The food is then processed in different ways. Finally, the food is sold to the public through a range of different methods, such as farm shops/markets, supermarkets, butchers/delicatessens, online retailers, restaurants and cafes. Some people grow food at home or at allotments.

Pupils should be able to identify the different ways in which a range of food is sourced, processed and sold.

This area covers:

For further information and activities around planning what to cook, go to the Cooking area. 

If you are looking for resources around food origins to support pupils with additional needs, go to the Where food comes from section of the Pupils with additional needs area. 


Food is grown, reared or caught

  • No matter where it is bought from, food is grown, reared or caught. To highlight this, show the How food is grown, reared or caught? presentation.
  • Ask the pupils to choose a food commodity, e.g. red meat/fish/cereals and task them to research how the food is produced. They could present the information as a short Fact file.
  • All food comes from either a plant or an animal, a useful activity to remind pupils of this and task them to consider where their food is from is the The origin of ingredients worksheet. This worksheet uses a Vegetable and goat cheese tart recipe as an example, but this can be edited as required. Challenge the pupils to make a quiche or tart using ingredients in season in the UK. Why not adapt the Tomato and basil tart recipe? 
  • Animals are reared and cared for in different ways, show the Farming food presentation and discuss the different methods.
  • Discuss the different ways food is grown and show the Growing food presentation. Can the pupils identify how some of the food is then processed ready for eating?
  • If you have the right environment, why not grow your own fruit and vegetables for use in the practical food room? This can be as simple as growing cress in a clean, empty yogurt pot, growing herbs on the window sill, planting tomatoes in a grow bag or growing mixed salad leaves. If you have more space, why not grow pumpkins and make soup with your class in the autumn? If you are looking to grow ingredients at school, you will find support and guidance in our Growing clubs area.

For further information and resources to support teaching and learning about growing, rearing and catching food, go to the Food commodities area.

11 - 14 YR
How food is grown, reared or caught presentation

A presentation about how food is grown, reared or caught.

11 - 14 YR
Fact file

A worksheet looking at a food commodity and how it is produced.

Farming food presentation

A presentation about how our food is reared and caught and the different farm...

Growing food presentation

A presentation around growing food.

11 - 14 YR
The origin of ingredients worksheet

A worksheet to explore the origin of ingredients in a recipe.

Farming food for you - dairy

A poster about the dairy farm and farmer.

Farming food for you - beef cattle

A poster about the beef cattle farm and farmer.

Farming food for you - sheep

A poster about the sheep farm and farmer.

Farming food for you - potatoes

A poster about the potato farm and farmer.

Farming food for you - cereals

A poster about the cereal farm and farmer.

Farming food for you - pigs

A poster about the pig farm and farmer.


Methods of food processing

  • To remind pupils that foods are processed on different levels to make them edible and safe, ask them to complete the How has it changed? activity.
  • For more detailed information about the ways food is produced and processed ready for consumption, show the Food production and processing presentation. Then ask the pupils to complete the Food processing activity. This activity encourages the pupils to think about the reasons why food is processed and provide examples of foods and the processing techniques used.
  • The Food processing cards represent a range of foods which have been processed in order to make them safe to eat and edible. Put the class into small groups and give each group a food card. Challenge the pupils to research how each food is processed. The pupils should present the information to the rest of the class.
  • Use the video clips about food production and processing as an introduction to a lesson or independent learning. A number of the videos have accompanying multiple choice quizzes.
  • Use practical activities to enable pupils to experience simple food production methods, e.g. make cheese, or butter, bread or pasta. Use the Homemade curd cheese recipe to make a simple fresh cheese using lemon juice or rennet (animal or vegetarian). Thinly slice apples and cook slowly in the oven on a low heat to make apple crisps to demonstrate dehydrating foods. Alternatively, use a commercial dehydrator if you have one.
  • If there is time for extended projects, task the pupils to create a learning resource for their peers outlining a simple food production method. For example, pupils could video record making butter or bread and use text or a voice over to explain the process and the science involved if appropriate.

For further information and resources to support teaching and learning about methods of food production, go to the Food commodities area.

11 - 14 YR
How has it changed? activity

A worksheet looking at production and processing of food.

11 - 14 YR
Food production and processing presentation

A presentation exploring food production and processing.

11 - 14 YR
Food processing activity

A worksheet looking at how food is processed.

11 - 14 YR
Food processing cards

Food processing cards.

11 - 14 YR
Curd cheese

A recipe for making Curd cheese.

How food is sold for use and consumption

  • List the different ways food can be purchased.
  • Discuss with the class where they and their families buy their food. Do they visit a supermarket or perhaps buy online and have their shopping delivered? Do they visit local shops, markets, or farm shops? If yes, what is the appeal? If no, why not?
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of local ‘box delivery’ schemes. Look at the contents of some example food boxes; compare the cost and benefits of such schemes
  • Visit a local Farmers Market, whilst there challenge the pupils to choose at least one locally produced product or ingredient to use to make a dish back at school.
  • Organise a visit to your local supermarket. Compare the way foods are sold in a large supermarket with a small independent shop such as a greengrocers, fishmongers or bakers. What might the advantages and disadvantages to the consumer be for the different types of shops?
  • Invite a local food retailer e.g. butcher, deli, farm shop to school to talk about the food they source and sell. The pupils could be invited to taste their food products.
  • Social and technological changes have had a significant impact on the way people buy, store and cook their food. Show the Social and technological changes presentation and discuss with the pupils how these changes have affected the food they buy and eat. How different are their family’s shopping habits to their parents or carers when they were their age?
  • Using the Family Food Survey discuss with the pupils the changes that have taken place in the last 75 years. Identify one particular aspect or point of interest, e.g. the introduction of microwave ovens or the explosion of coffee shops in the early 21st Century. For the most recent statistics, go to the Annual report on household purchases of food and drink.
  • Discuss the information on the Wartime food activity sheet and task the pupils to answer the questions. Perhaps make the Woolton pie with the class. How might the pupils modify the recipe to make it more like dishes available today?
  • Gathering wild foods or foraging is popular again; ask the pupils to research this and how they can be used. If available the pupils could be tasked to use some gathered food, .e.g. blackberries or wild herbs in a practical lesson.
  • Research the variety of products available in a high street coffee shop. Challenge the pupils to create a lunchtime take away product that could be sold from a coffee shop.
  • The number of meals eaten outside of the home has increased significantly over recent years. An awareness of the nutritional content of foods purchased and eaten out of home is important to reduce the risk of obesity. Task the pupils to research what sort of information is available to consumers. They could use the internet or visit local supermarkets, coffee shops or restaurants and compare the information found on packaging and menus. A number of retail and food outlets are signed up to a charter to improve the information available. Why not use the Out of home presentation to support this task?
11 - 14 YR
Social and technological changes presentation

A presentation looking at social and technological changes in food production...

11 - 14 YR
Wartime food activity sheet

A worksheet looking at the food during the second World War.

11 - 14 YR
Out of home presentation

A presentation about food purchased out of the home.

Reviewed 3.12.23

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