MODULE 1: Exploring food systems


This webquest represents a module designed to be completed in a minimum of six weeks at two hours’ class time a week.


Our topic is about food system; a complex web involving the activities held on during production, processing, transport, and consumption. The issues around our food system are something we can touch every day because all of us are a part of food systems.

Unfortunately, most people ignore its economic, social, and environmental dimensions.

Having in mind that the issues concerning the food system include the governance and economics of food production and our communities, its sustainability, the degree to which we waste food, how food production affects our natural resources and environment and the impact of food on individual and population health, we'll encourage you to find a way to help your local community link their food choices to  the economic, social and environmental dimensions of food systems.



Imagine that you are going to organise a campaign in your community in order to to help them link their food choices to  the economic, social and environmental dimensions of food systems.

Feel free to choose any kind of material you'll use for your campaign but all these we'll be also included to a common e-magazine.

The key points to be included are:

- Definition of food system

- Types of food systems

- Its interconnected parts (and their sub-categories) 

- People who represent various aspects of each interconnected part

- How does your daily food choice influence the food system? 

- How does this involve or influence your lives and communities?

- What's the meaning of sustainability of the global food system

In order to help you gain a piece of clear knowledge about the topic, you will take part in some teaching and learning activities in national and transanational teams, but firstly take a look on this picture (adapted from Eriksen 2008) that describes the food system and its drivers.

food system.



Essential question: How could you help your local community link their food choices to  the economic, social and environmental dimensions of food systems?

Step one: lesson 1 (2 hours) - national teams /common menti

In this step students work individually. They will join a MENTIMETER presentation using their smartphones

QR code for your presentation

and will input their answers to the following question:

What is THE FIRST WORD that comes to your mind when you hear the word "system"?

Their answers will appear live on the screen visualized in a Word Cloud which we'll use to start our discussion about the definition of a system. Then we encourage them to continue to the second question of the same menti, trying to give a definition of food system.

We'll synthesize their answers and give the definition of food system. Then they asked to take a look in the following photo (adapted by ), 


make an hypothesis on its interconnected parts and create a mind map of food system.  

Then a presentation about food system is presented. At the end of this presentation, they are called to watch the following video:

They add, if needed, some more parts to their mind maps, and present them to their peers. There's a discussion on possible missed parts, and students make corrections, if needed. Then they will upload it to a shared linoit canva.

Then they are encouraged to give an example of a food item that they like to consume, search for its journey until it comes to their plate, and  pay attention to the processing line. Before they start searching they are encouraged to think about:

-Which are its ingredients?

-What activities are involved in getting these ingredients?

-Which processes are involved so as these products transformed to this food item? 

They present their food item path in a form of a infographic.

At this step they are also called to add an answer to the forum thread: Which part of the food systems seems to be more interesting  for you? They are encouraged to give reasons. 

Step two: lesson 2 (2 hours) - national teams/ transnational Q&A videos.

Students are called to make a list of what they ate the last day, dividing food items in 3 lists: a) those that were bought from local producers or local food enterprises, b) those that maybe were produced in their country, and c) those that maybe their ingredients are imported.

Then they are encouraged to watch the following video:

Based to this video and their lists we have a discussion on  "How far has the food traveled?" so as to introduce food milestones, food footprint, and start making definitions for the food system types.

Then they asked to be devided in groups, search to the web for the food systems classification, and describe those in a paragraph which is presented to their peers.

Then students are divided in teams and search to the following resources in order to identify information for one type of food system, its pros and cons of each one, its affects in their health, community, and environment.

Then each team presents their information by using any web2.00 tool they prefer and upload their work to a padlet. Other students are encouraged to make comments.

At this step they are also called to add an answer to the forum thread: Which type of systems (local, regional, global) seems to be more harmfull for our environment? They are encouraged to give reasons, and respond to two arguments shared by their transnational peers. 

They watch the following video:


Then they have to focus in their community foodsystem and map it to a shared map, giving as much information as possible for the food producers or/and enterprises that sell local produced products. Then a representative of each national team has to make a video asking some questions about their local products and these have to be answered to a video recorded by the representatives of other national teams. Both the Q&A videos will be uploaded to the twinboard under the shared map.

Step three: lesson 3 (2 hours) - national teams

On this step, students will work based on their infographic of their food item journey, trying to identify:

-Where and how people are involved?

- How this involvement influences to their lives and communities?

and will make a paragraph describing their answers.

Then  they we'll be divided into 5 teams. Each team has to look closer to a system presented to the following map adapted from url:

4 Food systems map that shows how multiple subsystems interact (Source:...  | Download Scientific Diagram

and then to identify other parts related to food that people are involved. They present and discuss their findings to the other teams. After that they will give their answers to the discussions threads on the forum of twinspace:

-Which people have a more major role on food system?

-Who has the most power to influence our food choices? Why? 

-Who are those that are affected by our food choices? Who are benefited from these? Why?


Step four: lesson 4 (2 hours) - National teams/transnational competition

At this activity you will work in 3 transnational teams, as follows: 

All students make a research about the relationships among food and health, environment, and society. Then a representative of each country cooperates with one representative of the paired country and create: 

  • Greece and Turkey ... a presentation describing the relationship among food and health.
  • France and Austria ... a presentation describing the relationship among food and society.
  • Italy and Serbia ... a presentation describing the relationship among food and environment.

Here are presented some useful resources:

At the end, you will upload your presentations, in the following twinboard, by writing:

-As title: Food and Health (or Food and Society, or Food and Environment),Your names, countries.

Then all the members design a poster or/and an infographic with all the information you have selected.


Then students from all the countries will vote for those that describe better each relationship.


Step five: lesson 5 (2 hours) - national teamwork/ offering ideas to partners

Based to their findings so far they are called to focus deeper on your food choices. We brainstorm on some changes that might could do in their eating habits in a menti.

We make a discussion on the reasons we have to change our eating habits, if we want to be healthy. There's an introduction to SDGs and then students are called to brainstorm on global and local food system sustainability. Then they take a look at  the article on EUFIC's website:

and  try to mach the actions mentioned to SDGs. Then they create an action plan for their communities so as to be achieved all the SDGs connected somehow to food systems..

Catalyzing Action on the SDGs Through Collaboration

They post their action plans to the related twinboard.

We encourage them to read the information of website on Food 2030 : Research and innovation policy to make our food systems ready for the future, and keep notes on key food and nutrition goals, so as to post in a padlet their thoughts and conserns about food sustainability by answering the following question: Which of the key food and nutrition goals do you feel will be the most challenging and why?  After that, they  try to reply to two of  their peers (from partner schools) by offering some ideas on how we could address the challenges expected to be faced.

Step six: lesson 6(2 hours) - national teams

At last they organise their campaign. They have to decide which of the material created they could use for their campaign, add some more if needed and make plans. PAY ATTENTION to be included an online exhibition for their campaign, as the current situation due COVID-19 probably will make it impossible to organise this onsite.

They post their plans and online exhibition. Their partners take a look and provide written constructive feedback. 

Parallel, one representative of each partner school collects all the material of its national team and cooperates with the other representatives so as to design the online magazine.


This is how your work will be evaluated.














There is one person doing all the work, and the team is NOT working together.

The team is working individually on their own role, and using limited talked with others in a group

Team is working together, but not using the inflammation to connect with one another.

The whole team is working together, helping each other out, and connecting information with one another.




Critical thinking


Don't use sources given & information is not factual. Student lacked knowledge

Use sources that are given. Students understood information but couldn't apply it to their projects

Use sources that are given, and students understood information but lacked creativity and informational facts

Use sources, get all information asked and goes beyond to get and applied extra information to give to their peers a better idea on the subject



No creativity to their presentation, such a little information that classmates aren't able to understand

Students created a presentation with only text and nothing else.

Students were able to create a good presentation.

Great creativity, students are able to understand


Posters/Infographics None/Very few were created Students created some posters/infographics but didn't apply a lot of information Students created all the posters/infographics, although some of them lack of information The posters/infographics contain all key components and some extra information so these are useful to everyone interested in our topic.  

Shared common local food system map /Q&A videos

No map/ Q&A videos

The map is lacking key components, but there are no Q&A videos.

The map contains all key components and the Q&A videos are great.

The map contains all key components and some extra information so it could be useful to promote local food in each partner city. Q&A videos are really great!


Forum Discussions No reply Students responded to some of the forum discussions Students responded to all the questions but they didn't replied to their peers answers. Students responded to all the questions and also they replied to their peers answers.  
Organising a Campaign No campaign They designed their campaign but it lacks of creativity and innovation Students designed their campaign in an innovative way, including a lot of material Students designed their campaign in an innovative way, for both onsite and online options, including all the  material created  
Final product (e-magazine) There's no final product Only some of the representatives have added their material so the final product is lacking key components.

The final product contains all key components, all the representatives have added their materials, and is well organised,

The final product contains all the materials needed, key components and some extra information (like local producers interviews) so it could give a whole approach of our topic to everyone interested.  

The web quest is based on an interdisciplinary STEM  teaching approach, designed as an introduction module on food systems so as students earn how to think scientifically and critically when observing the world around them. Our driven question "How could you help your local community link their food choices to  the economic, social and environmental dimensions of food systems?" will lead them to think critically, develop communication, creativity, their problem-solving skills, and they will gain a lot of knowledge so as to achieve their task.

Hopefully this module will also increase their interest to STEM careers.



This WebQuest was created by a team of teachers, within the co-funded Erasmus+ KA2  partnership “Eat Smart Save Your Land” (ESSAY LAND), project number: 2020-1-EL01-KA229-078815

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsi­ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.