Farming and processing (7-11 Years)

There are a number of different stages in producing and processing food.

Activity 1 - Food is processed to make it edible and safe.

Show the children the Processing food from land and sea presentation. (This shows a variety of food and asks children to suggest the food origins.)

 Question the children:

  • Where does each of these food start (its origin)?
  • What happens to it before they reach us?
  • What processes has it been through?

Show children the MilkFrom wheat to breadFishing and Poultry farming (the hatchery, the breeding farm, the broiler farm, the rearing farm) videos to increase their understanding of what happened to these foods before they reach us.  Question the children to ensure they understand the stages. For example:

  • Where was the milk to start with?
  • What happened next?

Activity 2 - We process food at home to make it edible and safe.

To demonstrate how we process food at home to make it edible and safe, show children a range of food and ask them to discuss what needs to be done to each.

You could use the Processing food to make it edible and safe presentation or place the following foods in a shopping bag:

  • a small bag of flour;
  • a carrot;
  • a potato;
  • raw beef mince (an empty, clean package);
  • a small box of eggs.

For each food, pose the following questions to the children:

  • Can we eat this now? Why not?
  • What do we have to do before we can eat it? (It may have to be washed, peeled, combined with other ingredients and/or cooked.)
  • Why do we have to wash ingredients? (To remove any dirt or insects and ensure they are clean.)
  • Why do we have to cook foods, such as eggs and meat? (To destroy any harmful bacteria and make them safe to eat.)
  • Which of these ingredients have you eaten?
  • Name five examples of dishes which can be made with this food.

Show children some or all of the following videos:

Question the children:

  • What ingredients were used?
  • What happened to each ingredient?
  • What processes does each ingredient have to go through before it is eaten?

Give children a copy of the What’s happening? worksheet so they can record how one of the dishes was made.

Allow the children to make one of the recipes suggested.  As the cooking takes place, question the children about the processes the ingredients are going through. For guidance and support setting up cooking lessons, find out more with these resources Food food hygiene and safety practices.


Activity 3 - Food is processed on a large scale to make it edible and safe to eat. 

Talk to the children about food being processed on a large scale to feed lots of people. Can they name any examples of how this is done in the UK? You could prompt them to consider:

  • processing food so that it is ready to cook (such as washed raw potatoes or carrots) or eat (such as fresh fruit);
  • processing milk so it is safe to drink, or making cheese and bread;
  • processing food to make it last longer, such as frozen peas and canned sweetcorn;
  • creating meals or dishes that can be eaten or cooked at home, such as fish fingers, lasagne and salad pots;
  • cooking meals or dishes for sale in restaurants, café, bakeries and sandwich shops.

Question the children:

  • Apart from at home, where else can you get ready-to-eat food? (Restaurants, café, bakeries, sandwich shops.)
  • Where have you been to eat food?
  • How do you think it is different preparing food in a restaurant, school canteen, bakery or café than it is at home? (Much more is made; fridges, ovens, grills are much bigger; machines may be used in the preparation or packing.)

Show children the Where does it come from? video. Talk to the children about the clip:

  • What did the children eat?
  • Why were they surprised when their food first arrived? (It had not been prepared or cooked.)
  • How was the food prepared?
  • Have you ever eaten a pizza in a restaurant?  Did you see it being made?

Explain that restaurants need to have lots of ingredients prepared because they have to make a lot of food.  They need to have large ovens and special equipment to cook so much food. Explain that although lots of restaurants in the UK serve dishes which originate in different countries, many of the ingredients used can be produced in the UK.

Ask the children to draw a map of their local area or high street and draw and label all the places where they can buy ready to eat food and give some examples of the food available.  Ask the children to share their work.  Talk about the places the children have mapped:

  • Which places have you mapped?
  • Who has eaten at these places?
  • What food did you have?

Show the Cheese making video and the From wheat to bread video. Discuss with the children what they see happening in the clips and ask them what the differences are between making something at home, e.g. bread, and its being made in a factory? (Amount, size and quantity of equipment.) You might like to show the Processing fish video which shows how a whole fish is processed to become a breaded fillet.

Recap with the children.

Ask the children to give some examples of foods we buy and talk about the processes they go through before they reach us, e.g. milk – the cow is milked, the milk is taken away to be treated, the milk is bottled or put into cartons.

Ask the children to think about what they have cooked in school or something they or a parent/carer makes at home.  Ask them to talk through the processes involved for each ingredient and the overall dish.

Ask children to name places where they can get ready-to-eat food, e.g. restaurants, bakeries.  Talk about the differences between preparing and cooking at home compared with how it is produced on a large scale, e.g. in restaurants.


Further activities

  • Create a production line to make some food for an event at school, e.g. class party.
  • Arrange a visit to a local restaurant or factory to learn more about large scale production.
7 - 11 YR
Processing food from land and sea

A presentation exploring the basic food processes from growing, rearing and catching our food.

7 - 11 YR
Processing food to make it edible and safe

A presentation looking at what has do be done to food in order to made it edible and safe to eat.

7 - 11 YR
What's happening? worksheet

A worksheet for pupils to show the stages about how a recipe was made.

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.

Reviewed 28.11.23

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