Farmers and the Food Connection

K, 1, 2

In this lesson, a farmer visits the classroom to share information about growing food and talk about the process of producing and selling foods so that families can buy it. Students will learn about farmers' roles in and contributions to society. They will recognize the interdependence of all people in a community. They will learn about preserving food for future use. This lesson will raise their awareness of the importance of sharing resources in the community for the common good.

Lesson Rating 
PrintTwo and One-Half Hours (includes center time)

The learner will:

  • list foods they eat that come from farms.
  • recall details about the work on a farm.
  • understand that freezing, canning, and dehydration are means of preserving food.
  • identify the relationship between individual rights and community responsibility.
  • Packages/cans/jars of foods that are dried, frozen and canned
  • Prior to this day, arrange for a farmer to visit the class. Teacher Note: We used a bean farmer because we will be using beans in the soup mix, but any farmer that grows plants will be fine.
  • "Oats and Beans and Barley Grows" song (see Attachment One)
Home Connection 

Interactive Parent / Student Homework: Have students check in their own homes to see what ways foods are stored for future use. Have them estimate which method their family uses most often. Students discuss with their parents how their family has shared personal resources (demonstrated community responsibility).


"Oats and Beans and Barley Grows." Song Database


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask the children to share their ideas about where food comes from. Lead them to look beyond the grocery store to the people who grow and produce food. Can all food be traced back to a farm? Tell the children that there are different kinds of farmers that produce different foods and products. Make a list of types of farmers (vegetable, beef, dairy, wheat, corn, etc.) just to give the students an appreciation of the variety and to see beyond their immediate experience of the grocery store. Challenge the students to think about the type of work that farmers do every day.

  2. Introduce the guest farmer. Ask the farmer to show the different parts of a plant and where the seeds can be found for future plants. Ask the farmer to describe all the work involved in planting and harvesting the plants, as well as describe the routine of a typical day. Have the farmer describe the path of his/her produce from the farm to the grocery store and the students' tables. Also, the farmer can describe the different things that happen on a farm during the different seasons of the year.

    • Discuss how to preserve fresh foods that come from farms so that we can eat corn and beans in the winter and peaches in February. Show them freezer items, dried items and canned items. Brainstorm a list of common dried foods such as raisins, rice, pasta, beans, peas and spices. Brainstorm a list of foods that are frozen or canned for future use.
    • Sing "Oats and Beans and Barley Grow" (see Attachment One) Discuss and role-play the different things that a farmer does on a farm.
    • Call to the students' attention that the farmer depends on other people to have a successful farm, and everyone depends on the work of the farmer to eat. Pretend you are a farmer who needs help. Ask the students to help with different jobs to reinforce the idea that farmers depend on others. For example, say "Who will help me plant the corn?" or "Who will drive the corn to the market?" or "Who will shuck the corn?" Ask students to imagine what they would do if there wasn't any food on the shelves at the store because the farmers only produced enough food for their own families.
    • Lead students to understand that food and resources are shared for the common good of society. Relate this to their own experiences with sharing resources with others at school, in their neighborhood, church or community. How do they feel when they share and how do they feel when someone shares with them? Although they have the right to keep their resources, they also have a community responsibility to share. For example, helping your neighbor shovel the driveway or sharing extra produce from your garden.
    • Tell students that this wise use of resources is a form of stewardship. Group cooperation and stewardship build a sense of community.
    • Centers:
      • ART: Use dried foods (rice, corn, beans, seeds) to make mosaics. The children glue the pieces in a design with white glue on cardboard. (As pictures are completed, compare various ways individuals used the medium to represent their ideas.)
      • WRITING: Students will draw a picture and write a sentence (or story) in their journals about what a farmer does.
      • MATH: Sort and count different types of beans in groups of ten. Then, practice counting by tens.
      • BLOCK AREA: Provide children with tractors, farm animals and trucks to encourage creative play about farming.
      • SCIENCE: Observe how dehydrated foods react when mixed with water. Provide a variety of dried foods, water, cups, spoons and paper for recording observations.
    • At the conclusion of center time, call the class together. Reflect with the class about the importance of farming to the whole world. Briefly explain to the students how it was a long time ago when families all grew what they needed to survive. Ask, "How is farming different today?"

Assess students' writing assignment for an understanding of what a farmer does. Observation of play and discussion.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
    2. Standard DP 05. Role of Foundations
      1. Benchmark E.4 Describe the concept of saving for the future.
    3. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.2 Identify examples of families supporting giving and sharing.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss why some animal colonies work together.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.5 Identify the relationship between individual rights and community responsibility.
    3. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark E.5 Recognize the wise use of resources as <i>stewardship</i>.
    4. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark E.1 Explore and research issues and present solutions using communication tools.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Analyze information to differentiate fact from opinion based on the investigation of issues related to the common good.