How Does it Grow

SUMMARY: How Does it Grow? is a multi-platform initiative that brings agricultural literacy to ages 10-adulthood. By creating broadcast-quality videos and other free, shareable tools, we reconnect people with how their food grows in order to inspire greater connection with and demand for whole, natural foods, and to combat diet-related illnesses.

PROBLEM SPACE: Worldwide obesity has nearly doubled since 1980. Underscoring this epidemic is the increasing consumption of and demand for processed foods, with the US, the European Union and Japan accounting for over half the global sales of packaged foods, and even developing countries reporting strong growth. Such demand is fueled by the billions of marketing dollars spent by food manufacturers, including $2 billion to target US children alone.

Existing initiatives to fight these trends tend to focus on getting healthier foods where they are most needed (EG: school cafeterias and neighborhood “food deserts”). However, there is a critical missing link in this strategy: education.

Many people are not armed with the criteria for evaluating healthy, whole foods versus unhealthier processed ones. An example based on a true story: several children would not choose a roasted whole potato over a French fry because they did not realize both were made from potatoes.

Agriculture education initiatives, when available, lack a holistic approach. “How Does it Grow?” seeks to create the first comprehensive, universally-accessible platform for teaching agricultural literacy — to arm people with the knowledge to make healthy food choices and to better understand the global food system.

SOLUTION: “”How Does it Grow?” is a multi-platform resource for agriculture education that’s built upon the power of storytelling and the expansive reach of communication technology.

Its core is a comprehensive collection of broadcast-quality videos that tell the stories of our food. HDIG explores farms around the world and traces the journey of our vegetables, grains, fruits and nuts from field to fork.

Each five-minute episode focuses on a single crop and features a farmer who demonstrates how s/he sows, nurtures, harvests and, if applicable, processes the crop. The series is anchored by a dynamic host/narrator whose job is to distill and explain the agricultural journey into digestible lessons. Every video includes the crop’s historical and cultural context as well as its nutritional benefits.

Produced as stand-alone pieces, these videos are also the foundation for a substantive web-based curriculum that provides teachers with all the tools they need to teach agricultural literacy. Web-based games, printable worksheets and hands-on demonstrations expand on the information in each video. Plus there are recipes and shopping guides for choosing wholesome food so that students can learn to incorporate it into their diet.

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