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Map Your Fruit

In this activity, students trace where the fruit in their lunch boxes comes from and think about advantages of buying locally.

Most grocery store bought fruit has stickers on them that tell us where the fruit was grown.  In Canada, few fruit can be grown year-round, so we buy a lot of fruit from other countries. This fruit may travel thousands of kilometres by boat, train, truck or plane before it ends up in the produce section of a grocery store.

For example, a kiwi from New Zealand takes a truck to get to the coast. It then goes by boat or plane from New Zealand to Canada, takes a train to the grocery store distributor and takes another truck to your grocery store.

It takes a lot of energy to transport fruit from far away to our grocery stores. The fruits that are grown close to home don’t need as much energy to get into our shopping bags. To conserve energy (oil, gas, electricity, etc.) and reduce our carbon dioxide output, it’s more sustainable to buy produce from local farmers and markets.

Objectives

  • Identify several major fruit-producing countries.

  • Describe some advantages of buying local fruits.

Materials

  • Per Class:
    map of the world
    fruit stickers collected by students

Key Questions

  • Which country grows (and exports) the most fruit?
  • Which kind of fruit was the most popular? Can we grow this fruit in Canada? Why or why not?
  • Which fruit had to travel the furthest?
  • What are some fruits that you can buy locally?
  • Why should we try to buy local fruit (or fruit that hasn’t travelled very far)?

What To Do

  1. Post a map of the world near the students’ lunch area.
  2. Review where Canada is on the map and point out how close we are to the North Pole. Canada does not have a warm enough climate to grow all the fruits that we find in a grocery store all year-round. Ask students to list the fruits they think can be grown in Canada.
  3. Ask students where they think most of the fruit in the world is grown. Record the answers to compare to data collected.
  4. Have the students place any stickers they have from their fruit on the corresponding country on the map.
  5. Students can post as many fruit stickers as they want, making sure to label the type of fruit if it’s not on the sticker.
  6. Once enough stickers have been collected, the students can record the number of stickers placed on each country.

Extensions

  • Investigate how a tropical fruit (perhaps a banana or a pineapple) travels from a farm to your table.
  • Try preserving fruit or vegetables by drying, canning or pickling. Before high-speed travel and refrigeration made it possible to transport fresh fruit from warm climates, these methods let Canadians eat fruit in winter.
  • Share your local eating journey by entering BC Green Games

Other Resources

Science World | BC Green Games