Students will explain why economics are important to sustainability, describe the relationship between a sustainable economy and the environment, develop a model demonstrating how agricultural production creates a ripple effect that impacts local and global economies and social stability, and discuss how investments build an economy.
ripple effect: the simple planting of a seed starts a chain of events that help the farmer, community and eventually the world
global citizen: someone who identifies with being part of an emerging world community and whose actions contribute to building this community's values and practices
infrastructure: the basic equipment and structures (such as roads and bridges) that are needed for a country, region or organization to function properly
economy: the wealth and resources of a country or region, especially in terms of the production and consumption of goods and services
market: a place where products are bought and sold
Did you know? (Ag Facts)
A market economy is driven by supply and demand.1
Agriculture plays a significant role in the economic development of a country.2
In 2015, each dollar of agricultural exports stimulated another $1.27 in business activity. The $133.1 billon of agricultural exports generated an additional $169.4 billion in economic activity for a total economic output of $302.5 billion.3
Agricultural exports required 1,067,000 full-time civilian jobs, which included 751,000 jobs in the non farm sector.3
Background Agricultural Connections
Interest Approach – Engagement
Open the Economy PowerPoint.
Slide 2: Ask your students, “How does agriculture create ripples in the world?” (Just like a ripple in a pond, changes in the agricultural industry impact many other things. When agricultural markets are strong and there is high demand for agricultural products, the cost of food will rise. If an agricultural market is flooded, the price of food will drop. In addition to direct food markets, other industries rely on agricultural commerce for business, so their markets will also fluctuate along with the agricultural market.)
Slide 3: Ask your students, “What impacts agriculture, creating ripples in the industry?” (Many outside factors impact agriculture. For example, if fuel prices are high, it costs farmers more money to grow, harvest and transport their products to a final buyer, thus potentially decreasing their overall profit. Weather could be another factor. An unusually wet summer could create ideal grazing for livestock, improving their growth rates and potentially leading to a higher paycheck because the animals are sold by the pound. On the contrary, a year of drought can diminish overall harvest if there isn’t enough water available to maximize crop growth.
Allow students to offer their answers. Inform them that throughout this lesson they are going to take a closer look at how the planting of a seed creates a ripple across the farm, community and country. We all play a role in the ripple effect.
Preparation: Prior to class, review the Background Information, video clip and PowerPoint slides (including the speaker notes) associated with the lesson. Review the Teacher's Guide: Getting Started document for further information to prepare for class.
Activity 1: Economy and Food Sustainability
Slide 4: Play the Journey 2050: Economy video (4:47). Prepare students for the video by asking them to discover three things: 1) What is the foundation for an economy? 2) What is a market? 3) How does the increased wealth that comes from a strong market impact a community as a whole? (Background and discussion prompts are outlined in the steps below).
What is the foundation for an economy?
Slides 5–6: Ask students, “What is the purpose of the foundation of a house?” As a class, discuss the purpose and function of a building’s foundation. Then ask, “What is the foundation for an economy?” As students offer answers, direct their comments to earning money and creating jobs.
What is a market?
Slides 7–8: Define the term market. Determine if students have background knowledge about the law of supply and demand. Provide some explanation or clarification if needed or ask a student to summarize for the class.
Slides 9–11: To evaluate and apply students’ knowledge of the law of supply and demand, give three example scenarios of fluctuations in agricultural food markets (outlined in the PowerPoint: what if… milk was no longer served in school cafeterias; a disease spread through most of the chicken farms, killing many hens that lay eggs; or a late frost killed more than half of the peach blossoms decreasing the harvest by 50%?). Present each scenario and then ask students how it would impact the supply, demand and market price of the commodity. Instruct students to respond orally, with a hand signal (e.g., “thumbs-up” if the supply will rise or “thumbs-down” if it will fall) or with arrows drawn on paper.
How does a sustainable farm impact the farm family, their community and their country?
Slide 12: Present this question to students and inform them that it will be discussed more after they play the next level of the Sustainability Farming Game.
Three Dimensional Learning Proficiency:Disciplinary Core Ideas Students are able to link key science concepts from the four domains of science: physical science; life science; earth and space science; with problem solving (engineering) and the application of science through technology.
Activity 2: Sustainability Farming Game Level 4 Economy
Slide 13: Open Level 4 of the Sustainability Farming Game on each student’s computer or device. Explain that in this level of the game they will be farming in all three countries (Kenya, India and Canada). Prepare students for the game by informing them of the following:
In this level you will have investment opportunities to further the ripple effect in the community. These are examples of real-life investments that exist in each country.
You will have an opportunity to sell your crops in the marketplace. Prices fluctuate and the amount of crop sold depends on your growing practices. (The more ‘best’ practices used the higher the crop yields, the more money you will make, and the more final product will be available. Students will be exposed to examples of both edible and non-edible items that agriculture produces)
NOTE: In India, if students plant sugarcane a disease, known as Redrot, will hit their crop causing significant damage. (If you’d like to do a case-study review of how diseases and pests impact farmers refer to Lesson 2, Student Handout 5 – Pests and Diseases).
This is the last round of the game.
Total game time is 18 minutes (6 minutes per country).
Identify three to five students whose farms have generated the greatest amount of income and three to five students whose farms have generated the least amount of income in the game so far. (Students can find a dollar figure in the top left-hand corner of their screen when they open the game.) Make a list of the high-income farmers and the low-income farmers. These lists will be used in step 4.
Allow time for students to play the game.
Slide 15: Once students have completed the game, ask the students, “What was the highest crop yield % you received? How did you achieve high results? What choices did you make in the market when you sold your crop?”
Call on the high- and low-income farms that were identified in step 2. Compare the number and types of investments that were made by each group. Did anyone plant sugarcane in India? What happened to your crop yield?
Next ask the class, “What happens to your harvest when a random event such as hail or a crop disease hits your farm? What is the impact on the local and global market?”
As a class discuss the question, “How does a sustainable farm impact the farm family, their community and their country?”
Slide 16: Display or print and distribute the Ripple Effect Infographic to summarize the principles (see Essential Files). You may also refer to the Ripple Effect video.
Review and summarize the following key concepts (Slide 17):
Earning money and creating jobs are two factors important to a strong economy.
A market is a place where goods and services are bought and sold. Market prices fluctuate based on the principles of supply and demand.
When harvests and markets are strong, farmers earn more money.
When earnings increase, the farmer can invest in making improvements on the farm and provide a positive ripple effect throughout their community and the world.
We welcome your feedback! Please take a minute to tell us how to make this lesson better or to give us a few gold stars!
Using slide 19 of the PowerPoint, consider showing the video clip of interviews with people on the streets of New York City answering the question, "What will the world look like in 2050?" (1:58 min).
Note: the ideas shared in this supplementary video are not a reflection of the Journey 2050 program and are to be used at your discretion.
The Journey 2050 program was originally developed by Nutrien in collaboration with Calgary Stampede, Alberta Canola Producers Commission, Nutrients for Life Foundation, and Agriculture in the Classroom Canada. Authors and contributors were drawn from each of these organizations under the direction of Lindsey Verhaeghe (Nutrien) and Robyn Kurbel (Calgary Stampede.) The lessons were updated and revised in 2017 with contributions from the original J2050 Steering Committee, the National Center for Agricultural Literacy, and the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization.
Apply reasoned decision-making techniques in making choices; explain why different individuals, households, organizations and/or governments faced with the same alternatives might make different choices.
Identify the incentives and trade- offs related to a choice made by an individual, household, organization or government; describe the opportunity cost of a choice; and analyze the consequences of a choice (both intended and unintended).
Explain how the availability of productive resources and technology limits the production of goods and services.
Agricultural Literacy Outcomes
Culture, Society, Economy & Geography
Discuss how agricultural practices have increased agricultural productivity and have impacted (pro and con) the development of the global economy, population, and sustainability (T5.9-12.e)
Science, Technology, Engineering & Math
Discuss population growth and the benefits and concerns related to science and technologies applied in agriculture to increase yields and maintain sustainability (T4.9-12.c)
Plants and Animals for Food, Fiber & Energy
Evaluate evidence for differing points of view on topics related to agricultural production, processing, and marketing (e.g., over-grazing and loss of plant species diversity; monocultures contributing to genetic vulnerability; use of fertilizers and pesticides increase crop production but may contaminate water sources; creating open space; farmland preservation; animal welfare practices; immigration issues; world hunger) (T2.9-12.d)
Agriculture and the Environment
Evaluate the various definitions of “sustainable agriculture,” considering population growth, carbon footprint, environmental systems, land and water resources, and economics (T1.9-12.f)