Lesson Plans for Food Inquiry Projects

 How does Food History fit into Inquiry?

“Inquiry” is a current education initiative.  Inquiry projects are a natural fit for food history.  Students find something that interests them – maybe it’s an old photograph or a grandmother’s heritage recipe – and through their inquiry, they find out about themselves, their families and communities, and British Columbia.

Click on the files below for great ideas about including food history inquiry into your classes.









The Government of British Columbia’s Ministry of Agriculture website provides a gateway to a multitude of inter-related programs, organizations and resources on the subject of food and agriculture in the province of British Columbia, including the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, B.C. Investment Agriculture Foundation, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, B.C. Seafood Alliance, B.C. Agriculture Council, B.C. Food Processors Organization and the Farmers’ Advocacy Office. In addition, the History of Agriculture in British Columbia section offers an interesting insight into the resource management of early farmers.

The University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Land and Food Systems (formerly the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences) is amongst the three founding faculties at UBC. Grounded in science, the Faculty is a leader in integrated research and education that addresses global issues surrounding health and sustainable land and food systems, and uses student-centered learning to educate new generations of scientists equipped to solve the most fundamental issues faced by society — those focused around human health, a sustainable food supply and the responsible use of finite land and water resources.The faculty also oversees the Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm, which facilitates a farm encompassing 24 hectares of integrated farm and forest lands on UBC’s South Campus, and offers a wide range of interdisciplinary learning, research, and community programs on the site. Together, these programs explore and exemplify new paradigms for sustainable communities.

The Royal BC Museum is home to the BC Archives, the Official Archives of the Government of British Columbia, one of the oldest archival institutions in Canada. Amongst their online exhibits and resources is the Amazing Time Machine, an educational resource developed under Industry Canada’s SchoolNet initiative. Its purpose is to provide accessibility to British Columbia historical documents, images, and other multimedia information in a format designed for school-age children. The section on B.C. Resource Development (designed for Grade 11 students) is of particular interest, as it contains a highly enlightening section on the history of agriculture in British Columbia, complete with original photography courtesy of the BC Archives Collection.The BC Archives is also home to Living Landscapes, which was created by the Royal BC Museum as a regional outreach program involving intensive cooperation with other museums, First Nations, educators, naturalists, and other agencies. Their goal is to encourage and facilitate the exploration and appreciation of the human and natural history of British Columbia from regional perspectives. They approach this goal through a focus on particular regions of British Columbia and integrating stories and research locally generated with both research knowledge and descriptive information from the collections and curatorial staff at the Royal BC Museum.

The BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation provides educators and students with quality educational resources, programs, guided farm tours and other agricultural information that highlight agriculture as an important part of our economy and way of life in British Columbia. Their website’s section on B.C.’s Agriculture contains an exhaustive collection of links to resources on such things as Nutrition and Health, Food Safety, and Agriculture and Food. The foundation’s long-term objectives are laid out in great detail in The Next Three Years: A Realistic Approach, their strategic plan for 2011-2013.Library and Archives Canada, the shared documentary heritage of all Canadians, is an invaluable educational resource available to the public. A national treasure of inestimable value, it spans the entire history of Canada, and comprises materials in all media from all parts of the country, as well as records and publications of Canadian interest from outside the country. The website provides access to several electronic research tools which make access to its collection easier, including a searchable index of the catalogue of published materials in the Library and Archives Canada collection, as well as the national catalogue of published materials held by Canadian libraries across the country. Photocopies, prints and reproductions of materials can also be ordered online.The Learning Centre brings quality educational products to teachers and students, including websites, educational tools, and digitized primary sources (printed documents, diaries, maps, illustrations, paintings, manuscripts, and printed and recorded music) from LAC holdings. These resources stimulate students’ imaginations and develop their critical thinking skills, as well as help teachers make Canadian history, literature and music come to life. Two other excellent resources offered by Library and Archives Canada relevant to our cause are Bon appétit! A Celebration of Canadian Cookbooks, and Cultivating Canadian Gardens: The History of Gardening in Canada.

McGill University is home to the Eating in Canada Research Group, an interdisciplinary, interinstitutional research group devoted to the study of Canadian foodways in the long twentieth century. Their aim is to explore what and how Canadians choose to eat, and what informs those choices. Published bi-annually by McGill Library is the peer-reviewed e-journal Cuizine: The Journal of Canadian Food Cultures, which nourishes intellectual exchanges on the subject of food in Canada from multicultural perspectives, encouraging submissions that emphasize site-specific regional foodways across the country.Researchers can access a complete list of the cookbooks in the McGill University Libraries by consulting both the online catalogue of McGill University Libraries and their unique Cookery Book Collection, a comprehensive research tool which includes access to content by several important names in the history of Canadian cooking, like Margot Oliver and Jehane Benoît.