Food availability

This area covers: where food is grown, reared or caught around the UK, Europe and rest of the world; seasonality and food choice and the impact of weather and climate.

Food availability

Geography, seasonality, weather and climate influence the availability of food and drink.

Where and when food is grown, reared or caught has an impact on its availability. Seasons primarily dictate the food being grown or caught, although weather and climate also have an impact.  

Pupils should be able to discuss how these factors influence the availability of food and drink.

This area covers:

  • where food is grown, reared or caught around the UK, Europe and rest of the world;
  • seasonality and food choice;
  • the impact of weather and climate.

Where food is grown, reared or caught around the UK, Europe and rest of the world

  • Pupils may live in areas where food is grown, reared or caught and may be familiar with the foods that are local to them, others may live in cities or towns and fields of crops or animals grazing may be a less familiar sight. Use the Where is my food from? presentation to highlight where foods are grown, reared or caught around the world.
  • On a UK map, task the pupils to locate 20 foods that originate from the British Isles.
  • To encourage the pupils to think further about where their food comes from, ask them to complete the Where is my food from? activity. They should look in their food cupboards at home or in their fridge or freezer and find five products. They should look at the packaging to see where the product has come from and then use the internet to find out how many miles the products have travelled, e.g. India to England is approximately 4,200 miles. They should then suggest a possible alternative which would not have to travel as far from the place of production, e.g. oranges from Spain rather than from Florida.
  • The Eatwell Guide recommends that starchy carbohydrates should make up just over a third of what we eat. There is a wide range of starchy carbohydrates available that can be used to make creative and exciting dishes. Task the pupils research starchy carbohydrates and complete the Around the world Challenge them to make one of the recipes they found.
  • Provide a range of ingredients or images of foods from different countries. Ask the pupils to match the name against the ingredient. Discuss why the foods are found in different countries and the effect of weather and climate.
  • Challenge the pupils to create a traditional recipe from an area or region in the UK. Task them to research the food history, traditions and produce of their chosen region or area.
11 - 14 YR
Where is my food from? presentation

A presentation looking at where food comes from.

11 - 14 YR
Where is my food from? activity

A worksheet looking at where food comes from.

11 - 14 YR
Around the world activity

A worksheet looking at dishes using starchy carbohydrates around the world.

Seasonality and food choice

  • The best time to buy fruit, vegetables and some animal products is when they are in season. The foods are often cheaper and fresher and buying seasonally, and especially locally, supports British farmers and producers. To highlight the different produce that is available through the seasons, show the Seasonality presentation.
  • Create a chart showing the four main seasons. Ask the pupils to list ten food items available in the UK in each season.
  • Set the pupils a challenge to list all the fruit and vegetables that they eat in a week. Where were they from? Were the fruit and vegetables in season in the UK or grown somewhere else in the world?
  • Set the pupils a practical challenge using seasonal ingredients. Remind pupils that it is not just fruit and vegetables that are seasonal. Food from animal sources can also be seasonal such as spring lamb, game (such as grouse or pheasant) and fish and shellfish.
  • Challenge the pupils to create a presentation that explains the benefits of local more seasonal food.
  • Ask a local farmer or food producer to talk to the pupils about the seasonal produce grown in the local area.
  • Set a sensory evaluation challenge for the pupils using fresh local ingredients, such as strawberries, and compare them with strawberries that have been imported, dried, frozen or canned. Carry out a preference test to see which they prefer and why. Also discuss the cost of the different products and the reason why some foods are imported, dried, frozen or canned.
  • All foods will begin to deteriorate as soon as they have been killed or harvested. Preservation techniques are used to extend the shelf life of products. Preservation techniques, such as freezing, can also help to retain the nutrients in vegetables such as peas. Task the pupils to research how peas are harvested and frozen ready for sale.
  • Some pupils may not have experienced fresh produce such as peas or broad beans in their pods, corn on the cob still wrapped in its leaves or Brussel sprouts still on the stalk. If you have access to a fresh produce market, why not buy a selection of these foods to show the pupils? The pupils could carry out a taste test and compare them with a frozen or tinned version of the produce.
  • Buy a selection of seasonal food, perhaps focusing on your local area, and set the pupils a ‘ready steady cook’ style practical challenge.

For more information about food choice, go to the Cooking area.

11 - 14 YR
Seasonality presentation

A presentation looking at seasonality of different foods.

The impact of weather and climate

  • The weather and climate impacts where and how food is grown, reared or caught. Changes in the weather or climate can seriously affect the food available and also people’s lives. To highlight the issues around food production and weather/climate, show the Food production, weather and climate
11 - 14 YR
Food production, weather and climate presentation

A presentation about the effect of the weather and climate on food production.

Help us improve: Report an issue with this page

Is there something wrong with the page? Do you have a suggestion or would like to see something on this page?