Task 4

Images © St James Ethics Centre

Choose a food to research.

  • Explain ONE environmental impact that you have discovered, caused by farming this food.

  • If possible, suggest a solution to reduce the environmental footprint that it causes.



Online resources CLICK THE BACK ARROW or you will close out of this blog!

Grain chain

1)   Growing our grain: The science of farming

2)   Following the grain train from field to fork

3)   The farming business: today and tomorrow


Potato roadmap Discuss ONE sustainability issue in farming potatoes. Use the Potato roadmap worksheet to support discussion.


World Wildlife Fund – Sustainable Agriculture – Discuss one issue, such as biopesticides [extension]

Food to fork challenge game [is background only]

37 thoughts on “Task 4

  1. Hi everyone 4 Sami is back,

    This week we explored the Grain Chain. We loved it. We learned all about food production—lots of new ideas that we didn’t know about.

    We were very interested in following the wheat growing and food making process. The links were great and we will be following them again. Because lots of children in our school come from Asian countries, we explored the farming of rice. In China,Korea and Indonesia it is really easy to grow rice but not so in Australia.

    Rice needs lots of water and Australia doesn’t have a lot to spare – especially in the areas where farmers try to grow rice.This causes great environmental damage because they have to take water out of the river systems and the Murray and Murrumbigidgee already have huge demands on their water. There are many rules and regulations about rice growing in Australia so we don’t think its a good idea to keep it up.

    It’s a big environmental issue. We cannot destroy the rivers by growing crops that are unsustainable.

    Erin suggested we could grow other crops and swap them for rice with other countries.
    Gianluca would like farmers to only use recycled water.
    Isani’s idea was to establish hydroponic rice growing. Maybe the farmers could try that!!!
    If Australia is going to continue to grow rice we will have to find alternate water supply methods.
    One good thing we discovered was that farmers often plant other crops like wheat to make use of the residual water in the ground after the rice has been harvested.
    Does any one else have ideas about sustainable rice growing? We would like to hear them.

    See you later,
    4 Sami

  2. Hi rappers,

    We had such a great time playing all the “Grain chain” resources on our IWB, we ran out of time to compose a blog entry. However, we did have time for Mr McLean to snap a few photos of us on his iPhone. Look at us – we are silhouettes! (Please click on the link.)


    We did learn a lot today about turning wheat into flour, and turning flour into bread. Next week we will try to find out solutions to reduce the environmental footprint that bread manufacture causes.

    From SCHC @ Penrith PS

  3. Hi there, Concord West and Penrith PS Rappers!

    I am so glad that you enjoyed the Grain Chain online game – there is so much to learn about the process of getting from the farm to the table, isn’t there?

    Great to see the photos too Penrith PS – wow, they turned out clearly!


  4. Hi, my name is Ethan. One issue I learned about today is BIODIVERSITY effects and how they affect animals, plants and other living things with the issue of LAND CLEARING for farming. This causes a variety of living things to simply disappear – trees and plants are destroyed in land clearing to create farms and animals are left without a home.

    One thing we can do to make potato farming more sustainable is using ORGANIC OPTIONS, meaning no use of chemically based pesticides.

    Bye for now,


  5. Hi, my name is Grace. I learned about FUEL EMISSIONS which is when gases from trucks and cars warm the air – they are greenhouse gases contributing to global warming.

    To make potato farming more sustainable, farmers should reuse and recycle as much irrigation water as possible, using tanks and dams.

    See you later.

  6. Hi, my name is Zeph. One issue I learned about today is SOCIAL FOOD PROGRAMS. This is when restaurants, bakeries and cafes recycle unsold food to people who need support. They send it to soup kitchens, youth shelters, and women’s refuges. This gives help to people with needs.

    One thing we can do to make the whole process of potato farming sustainable is at the CONSUMER stage – when we have peeled the potatoes – we can throw any left over peels or food onto a compost in our gardens.

    Bye for now

  7. Hi, my name is Mackenzie. One of the issues I learned about today is to REUSE water because we need to have more water instead of wasting it.

    See you later.

  8. Hi, my name is Gabby. One issue we learned about today is that animal manure used on farms to feed the crops can cause ACID RAIN [chemicals from factories can also cause acid rain). Acid rain is when chemicals from the manure go into the air as gases and cause acid rain – sometimes hundreds of kilometres away from the farm or factory which released the chemicals as gases.

    One thing we can do to make potato farming more sustainable is to use green manure. This means leaving some paddocks without a crop for a while, growing some plants on the paddocks, then plowing those plants into the ground to feed the soil…

    See you later

  9. Hi, we are Olivia and Annabelle. One of the issues we learned about today is ACIDIFICATION. It is when manure, used as fertiliser on farms, or chemicals released from factories, causes the air to become acidic and it is not very healthy.

    One thing we can do to make potato farming more sustainable as end users is COMPOSTING. Composting means putting food scraps into a big pile or compost bin and every few days you turn it to let the oxygen in. Worms will come to eat the scraps, bacteria will also break them down, eventually it will make good rich soil to use in your garden – so that is recycling food scraps.

    See you later.
    Olivia and Annabelle

  10. Hi, my name is Ben. One issue I learned about today is CO2. CO2 is Carbon Dioxide. It causes global warming when released by cars as fuel emissions – gases from our exhaust pipes. One thing we can do to lower CO2 is to drive less, walk more and cycle to work where possible.

    See you later.

  11. Hi, my name is Nathan. One issue I learned about today is EUTROPHICATION. Eutrophication is when rivers are being covered with algae because they get too much nutrition from fertilisers being used on nearby farms. The fertilisers soak down into the water table or run off the land into the river when it rains. The rivers look as if they have a green blanket over them and it stops other plants in the river from growing and chokes up the river. This also means that people cannot use water from the river.

    One thing we can do to make potato farming more sustainable is to stop using animal manure as fertilisers and use GREEN MANURE instead. Green manure means farmers use crushed plants to fertilise their soil. This means that rivers will not get polluted because green manure is made from plants and does not cause the overgrowth of algae in rivers.

    Bye for now

  12. Hi, my name is Hayat. One thing I learned about today is that farming using fertlisers can cover nearby rivers with algae. It is better to use green manure.

    One thing restaurants and bakeries can do to make the whole process of potato farming more sustainable is to give food to poor people. It means that the food is shared with poor people – they will have something tasty to eat and it also means that the food does not go to waste.

    Bye for now

  13. Hi, my name is Alice. One issue I learned about today is PACKAGING. Packaging issues are caused when we use plastics that are hard to recycle. This causes pollution.

    One thing we can do as consumers to make potato farming more sustainable is to COMPOST food scraps and soon we will have rich soil for our gardens. This means that if everyone composted then people wouldn’t use as much manure on their garden as fertilisers. Fertilisers release chemicals into the air and water table – causing acidification and pollution.


  14. Hi, my name is Markus. One issue I learned about today is RECYCLING through composting. Because many people don’t follow it right…

    Most people put food scraps into the recycling bin – that’s bad.

    What should you do? Put papers, tins, empty containers, and plastic and glass bottles into the recycling bin – now that’s good for the environment!

    Recycle your food scraps in a compost in your garden.

    I learned about social food programs today and I think they are good.

    Bye for now

  15. Hi, my name is Alby. One issue I learned about today is ORGANIC OPTIONS. It is when no chemically based pesticides are used on a farm. This gives potato crops which are fresh and umpolluted by chemicals and one thing we can do to make potato farming more sustainable is for every farmer to use organic farming methods.

    Bye for now

  16. Hi there everyone – my name is Brodie. Today I learned more about air pollution. FUEL EMISSIONS happen when car exhausts create CO2 – this pollutes and warms the air. One thing we can do is to switch to electric cars, walk or cycle to reduce the CO2 emissions.

    See you later

  17. Hallo everyone – my name is Maddy. One issue I learned about today is BIODIVERSITY – that is when a big variety of plants and animals exist in a habitat. Biodiversity is very good. Biodiversity in an area is affected very badly when land is cleared to make room for farming. This causes animals and trees to die.

    One thing we can do in our families and on the farms themselves to make potato farming more sustainable is COMPOSTING. This means that at least the land is left with some goodness in the earth after farming on it with chemicals.

    Bye for now

  18. Hallo everyone, my name is Brendan. One issue I learned about today is ACIDIFICATION. Acidification is caused by factories and farming. When farmers use manure as fertiliser it causes acidic air and land pollution which can travel hundreds of kilometres from where it started on the farm. It causes acid rain.

    Organic options mean no use of chemically based pesticides.

    See you later

  19. Hi everyone – my name is Taylor. One issue I learned about today is eutrophication. This is when manure gets into rivers and gives them too many nutrients which causes the rivers to be covered in algae. Green manure is better because it is when organic farmers use plants to feed the soil, instead of animal manure.

    At our end of the potato farming process, we can help by using composts. Composts are made of food scraps which make rich soil when broken down over time.

    Bye for now

  20. Hi there everyone – my name is Bronte.

    One issue I learned about today is BIODIVERSITY effects. These effects are caused when land is cleared and there is no longer a VARIETY of plants and animals in an area – it is just farmed for ONE crop. This means plants and animals die at the clearing stage.

    One thing we can do to make potato farming more sustainable is at least give some unused food from restaurants to homeless people. Nature is still dying so that farms can exist but at least the food wouldn’t be wasted.

    Bye for now

  21. Hi my name is Alannah – I learned about biodiversity effects as well – when the land is cleared and animals and trees are killed. That means the only thing left on the land is the crop.

    One thing we CAN do to make farming more sustainable is to use ORGANIC options. This means using no chemically based pesticides, using crop rotation to rest the paddocks sometimes and using green manure as fertiliser.

    Bye for now

  22. Hi there – my name is Dana. One issue I learned about today is PACKAGING issues – that is when it is very hard to recycle some plastics.

    After we have cleared land and are using it for farming, we can’t fix those problems but one thing WE CAN DO is to compost the food scraps. Also the farmers can use green manure – they can rest their paddocks, and plow some special plant crops into the ground to create a whole field of decomposing material to feed the soil – instead of using animal manure to feed the soil.


  23. Hi there – we are Liam and Alyssa.

    Liam and Alyssa – One issue we learned about today is eutrophication. This is when fertiliser leaks from farms into rivers causing a massive growth of algae.

    Liam – One thing we can do to make potato farming more sustainable is to use social food programs. This means that left over food from restaurants goes to the poor.

    Alyssa – One thing we can do to make potato farming more sustainable is being organic. This means to use no chemically based pesticides. To recycle water in the irrigation process is also better.

    Bye for now
    Liam and Alyssa

  24. Hi there – we are Teo and Arthur.

    Teo: Biodiversity effects are when they cut down trees and the variety of animals goes away from an area.

    Arthur: Today I learned about social food programs where the last batch of food from a company is sent to poor people without food – so it helps a lot for people who need it. Something we can do is composting which makes food scraps be reused, so it is better for the environment.

    Bye for now
    Teo and Arthur

  25. Good day everyone – we are Jessica and Jack.

    Jessica: One issue I learned about today is that manure pollutes the air and soil. The manure goes onto the potato crop, pollutes the ground and enters the water table. Then gases from the manure fumes rise and pollute the air. They rise so much that they reach the clouds and pollute the rain that falls and create acid rain.

    One thing we can do to stop this is to use green manure instead. When using green manure, you fertilise the earth with plants not animal manure.

    Jack: One thing I learned about today was pesticides. That’s when farmers use harmful poisons to kill insects which might eat crops, that can damage other plants and animals. We can fix this by choosing organic farming options. This means we use natural products and not chemicals as pesticides – the good products would be made out of plants and minerals.

    Bye for now Jack and Jessica

  26. Hi everyone – Alexander and Jack here.

    Jack: One issue I learned about today is to recycle food into compost – so instead of putting it into the bin, you can put it into the compost. This is so you can use it on the garden to help it grow – but to do this you need to get heaps of food scraps and stir the compost to let oxygen in.

    Alexander: I learned that biodiversity is affected badly when farmers clear the land and cut down trees.

    Jack: I learned today that farmers should put less manure on crops because it turns into acid when gases from the manure go into the clouds and this causes it to fall as acid rain.

    Bye for now
    Jack and Alexander

  27. Good day everyone – we are Nicholas and Lauren.

    Nicholas: Today I learned about fuel emissions – too many vehicles are letting a lot of carbon dioxide gas into the air… Some people drive old cars – so get a fuel efficient car everyone, please.

    Lauren: I learned about eutrophication which is when rivers near farms are covered in algae from the fertilisers for farm crops. This causes green water.

    One thing we can do is composting. It makes rich soil from old food scraps, it isn’t wasting anything and it’s good for your plants. Peel the potatoes, put the peel into the compost, then it turns into dirt, and goes on and on, with no wasting…

    Bye for now
    Nicholas and Lauren

  28. Thanks SO much to everyone who posted comments about the Potato Roadmap and the journey of the potato from the farm to the table…

    You have obviously learned a lot about the sustainability issues along the way.

    I am with you about composting – it is a fantastic way for us to feed our gardens and to recycle food scraps!


  29. Hey Bloggers,

    In our groups we each researched a different Australian product.

    COTTON – issue – pesticides and water overuse
    effect – drought and fights over water
    solution – rotate crops cotton /wheat

    DAIRY – issue – air pollution (cow manure!!)
    effect – global warming
    solution – plant more trees

    HONEY – issue – insecticides
    effect – harmful to bees
    solution – move bee hives to a safe place

    WOOL – issue – soil erosion
    effect – poor soil quality
    solution – use organic fertilizers
    don’t overgraze

    Sustainably yours,
    4/5M Glenhaven PS

  30. Good day to 4/5M

    Thanks for the good work that your 4 groups did on cotton, dairy, honey and wool farming.

    There is so much research that you needed to do, to find out the particular environmental issues related to each type of farming!

    If you found some really good sites that you used for your research, please share them with us here…

    I know you may have used books and encyclopedias – which ones were most helpful?

    Good on you for all your research, discussion and decision making about how farming can become more sustainable!


  31. The Mullets are here again!

    We have just researched the farming of chicken around the world. We have learnt that chickens put out a very high amount of poo. Their poo can contain diseases. The poo can end up in the local water or bits can end up in the air.

    It also ends up in the local environment and then worms break it down and spread it throughout the soil. If there is a disease in the poo it could affect other animals, fish and humans.

    These things happen because the chickens are clumped together and squeezed tightly in a small pen or shed/ breeding box.

    We can prevent this by farming smaller amounts of chicken and putting smaller numbers of chickens in outdoor pens.

    We don’t need to eat as much meat as we do. People eat too much meat and protein. If we cut down on our meat, there wouldn’t be as many diseases because we wouldn’t be squashing the chicken in together and we wouldn’t end up with as much poo to get rid of.

    Signing Off,

    The Mullets

  32. Thanks Mullets – a lot of thought has gone into your ideas about poultry farming…


  33. Hi, it’s Emily.

    This week I have chosen to explore the farming of potato chips.
    As this food is farmed, a major environmental issue can be pollution.
    Pollution is caused by the trucks that transport the potatoes.
    It can cause these effects: Rising temperatures and foggy air…

    Thanks again,

  34. Hi there, it’s Blake and Dexter.
    This week we have chosen to explore the farming of apples.
    As this food is farmed, a major enviromental issue can be pesticides, residues etc.
    Fruit brandy is pesticides, residues etc causes these effects: Unhealthy stuff.
    There are some less damaging alternatives…

    See you later, Blake and Dexter

  35. Hey, everyone check out the work we did this week.
    Strawberry farming
    Issues: Washing the strawberries
    They use machines and cause lots of electricity to be used.
    Then it gets taken to the shop for delicious strawberries,
    but organic are the best.
    Luckily, strawberries aren’t in season here – so buy organic, I sure will be…

    Strawberry short cake

  36. I think these ideas are fantastic! Thanks everyone – I really love what you have written..


  37. Hello everyone,

    We didn’t have a library lesson last Monday because of the public holiday, but we have been thinking about the issue of plastic bags vs paper bags when buying sliced bread.

    Plastic bags can end up in the water, killing or harming marine birds and animals. Plastic bags on rubbish tips last for a very long time. If you buy your sliced bread in a paper bag, you should put it straight in the freezer when you get home to keep it fresh.

    Maybe in the future more plastic bags can be made from recyclable materials?

    Bye for now,
    SCHC @ Penrith

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