Association of American Geographers AAG - My Community, My Earth
About MyCOE MyCOE Learning Resources MyCOE Activities & Programs MyCOE Participate

Food Security, Vulnerability, and Hazards Resource Page

Food Security
Activity Guide: 
Food Source Inventory
Sample Project: 
Market Vegetables in Cape Coast, Ghana

Hazards and Vulnerability
Activity Guide: 
Hazards in My Community
Sample Project: 
Risks due to Natural Hazards in La Paz, Bolivia

This resource list is designed to help provide background for youth projects focused on these interrelated issues of food security, risk, vulnerability, hazards, and disasters.

Teaching and Learning about Food Security, Vulnerability, and Hazards

Begin by considering a few definitions of the concepts and how they may relate to each other by consulting our bilingual list of terms for this theme.  These terminology were developed  by the AAG's Institute for Integration of Research on Climate Change and Hazards and are part of a larger bilingual glossary available.  

Feed the Future is the United States' contribution to a collaborative global effort that supports country-owned processes and plans for improving food security and promoting transparency.

The FAO, or Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, offers comprehensive background information through its Committee on World Food Security

The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction offers context and an explanation of disaster concepts as well as a global assessment report.

The US Department of Agriculture offers a suite of resources on dimensions of food security and disasters:

  • Food Security Resources - The primary focus of the USDA’s nutrition assistance programs is providing food security -- access by all people at all times to enough nutritious food for an active, healthy life.
  • Disaster Assistance Resources - Nothing is more important than providing food when people find themselves suddenly, and often critically, in need following a storm, earthquake, flood or other disaster emergency.  USDA makes sure that people have enough to eat.
  • Food Security Studies - Consult this listing for the latest research.

The MyCOE Student Project Guide from 2002 includes background chapters on Food Production and on Fresh Water Supply from researchers at the United Nations Environment Programme.

 

Videos about Food Security and Disasters

►Feed the Future Video

Narrator Matt Damon discusses the importance of increasing food production around the world and notes the importance of equipping women with the right tools, training, and technology.

►Securing a Healthy Future

Philadelphia's Food Trust show how GIS was used to identify and address the needs of the city's hungry.

►GPS Saves Lives During Disasters

Haiti residents receive important food and aid after the earthquake after being found by texts to crisis mapping sites online.

►Food Machine 

How GPS and GIS along with remote sensing is an integral part of American food and agriculture production. 

 

Classroom Modules and Case Studies about Food Security, Vulnerability, and Hazards

Lesson Plans from Oxfam International offer ready to use and interesting classroom activities.  See especially on this theme:

The AAG Center for Global Geography Educaion's online moduels are a resource providing a model for student exchange study and discussion.  Collaboratively developed case studies on this theme include:

Online Data and Tools

Make a Hazard Map in less than 60 seconds, of earthquakes, storms, wildfires, and eruptions in the US (or the world, using Option B) with this Esri Web GIS tool

Map trends in food security the International Food Policy Research Institute's Global Hunger Index (Be sure to navigate to and compare Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ghana, and the Philippines)

Map overall food insecurity rates in the US for overall population and for children using this online tool from Feeding America (Be sure to hover over and compare Alabama, Colorado, Michigan, Texas, and Washington)

World Resources Institute's EarthTrends maps and country profiles (includes Puerto Rico) for Water Resources and Agriculture and Food. 

FAO's Atlas of global livestock production and health allows interactive mapping of food supply statistics.

See also their State of Food Insecurity in the World Reports that are mapped by the Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Information and Mapping Systems

Feed the Future - Nicaragua 

Feed the Future - Ghana

Just for fun: Try your hand at  www.FreeRice.com.  Play online practice learning games in science, language, math and for each answer you get right, 10 grains of rice are donated through the World Food Programme to help end hunger. 

Check out the UN's Water Indicator Portal and see maps, tables or graphs of key statistics. 

Find additional online data or tools in the MyCOE Set of Recommended Resources on  Food Production and Agriculture  and Fresh Water Supply and Health.  
NASA's / NOAAS' page for kids wanting to learn more about hurricanes and storms, weather and more.

 

Ideas for Youth Exchange Projects on Food Security, Vulnerability, and Hazards

Here are some ideas to consider:

Food Security:
Conduct a “Household Consumables Inventory”, a list of the edible items you find at home and where these items come from, from fresh fruit to canned goods. You can then share your findings with your peers—where does most of your food come from? What percentage of foods is grown locally? What does this mean in terms of food security?  Consider expanding this activity to include how foods are prepared, i.e. how are they stored (i.e. refrigeration) or cooked (gas, electricity, wood)? Where do these appliances come from? What energy sources or natural resources are necessary for food preparation? Is this sustainable?

Or take it to your Local Neighborhood Store! Try out National Geographic's Geographic Groceries activity to explore the layout of your local food store and make a map of the "regions" where different items are located. We bet you'll never look at a supermarket the same way again!  For additional learning resources on where grocery items come from, "Follow the Things" here.

New!
Use this Food Inventory Activity Guide to help you get started. It includes a hand out to give your students that will help them complete a MyCOE project about Food Security.


Hazards
:
Write mini descriptive reports of the hazards in your communities. What was the most recent natural disaster that happened closest to your community? Do you know of another event that was similar but happened somewhere else? What hazards are you subject to (based on the geography of the area where you live)? For example, is flooding a threat to your community? Wildfires? Earthquakes? Landslides? Tornadoes? How does your community prepare for these events? How did your community respond during its most recent disaster? How have you personally been affected by disaster? Has your community adapted to these hazards? What steps do you feel your community should take to be more prepared in the future for these hazards?

 

Be inspired by more ideas in the MyCOE Project Gallery.

Find out what you need to put together to submit your own MyCOE Project to our geoportal.