The World in a Food Bag (Food part 1)

Community: Citizenship
10-12 years, 12-14 years
Anticipate Time
1 hour min
2-5, 5-15, 15-30
Compassion, Purposefulness, Responsibility


Pathfinders examine a bag of groceries to find out where our food comes from.

Through participation in this Pursuit, the Pathfinder will:

  1. Explore the origin of a range of foods.
  2. Acknowledge that in Australia most people have to buy their food from shops, and that they need money to do so.
  3. Demonstrate the global diversity of the origins of the food on our supermarket shelves.
  4. Develop awareness that many of the poorer countries of the world are contributing to feeding us.

Scripture Focus

Memory Verse

James 1:17
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

It is sometimes difficult in Western Society to appreciate the basic fundamentals of life, such as food. Christians need to consider where our blessings come from, and understand how our actions affect others.


  1. Have materials prepared for each group.
  2. Photocopy Appendices A and B. Appendix A will be needed by each participant, while Appendix B will need to be given to each group of four Pathfinders
  3. Obtain an enlarged photocopy of a world map to use to pinpoint the origins of the food in the bags.
  4. Get a supermarket carrier bag for each group, containing seven to ten items of food including: pulses/grains; tinned fish/fruit; packaged/processed foodstuff; a bar of chocolate. Try to make this collection from as wide a variety of countries of origin as you can and include healthy/less healthy items and cheap/less cheap items. (You may choose to get the Pathfinders to bring this with them.)
  5. Ensure that every item is labelled with its price. (As many foods are now labelled only by bar-code, you may need to label the foodstuffs yourself.) Also make sure that your Pathfinders are able to work out where the product comes from, from the label, country of origin tag, or your own labelling. The foods contained in the ‘supermarket bags’ could subsequently be used in a harvest festival collection, grocery stall or food parcel to a needy family.
  • A grocery bag for each group with at least 10 food items from as many different countries as possible.
  • Paper and writing implements
  • Appendix A and B
  • A world map
  • Tacks or pins and wool to mark positions on the map
  • A supermarket carrier bag for each group of four Pathfinders



1. Divide into groups of two or three and ask them to make a list which outlines why we need food and what it does for us. Then ask the groups to share their lists so that a whole-group list can be compiled. Suggestions may include: to give us energy; to build healthy bones, teeth and skin; to prevent dehydration; to share with friends; to keep us warm; because it tastes good; it’s fun; to explore other cultures through eating food from around the world; as part of a religious festival.

2. Distribute the sheet: ‘Where do we get our food?’ so that each Pathfinder has one. Divide your participants into groups and ask each group to discuss some of the ways their families get food, and write these in the left-hand column. Then in the right hand column, ask them to work out where they would have to get that food if they couldn’t buy it, but had to get it from some other means.

Ask them to discuss as a group what they think the cheapest way of getting food is and what they think is the most expensive. Ask them to put a ring round the way of getting food they think is the most expensive and a tick by that which they think is the cheapest. Discuss their suggestions as a whole group.

Discussion Points
Many of your participants will probably say their families drive to a supermarket to shop and that someone in the family works to earn money to pay for shopping.

  • Why is it cheaper to go to a supermarket than to a corner shop, cafe or restaurant?
  • What about people who are unable to afford cars and cannot get to a supermarket?
  • Why do so few people grow their own food these days, even though it is a very cheap way of getting food?


3. Then, ask the groups to fill in the other side of the sheet with ideas of other ways in which people may get food.

Suggestions might include: they grow food to eat; they shop in markets; they catch fish to eat; they keep hens; they buy fast food. Discuss these suggestions as a whole class.

Discussion points

Points for discussion could include:

  • If you don’t have money for food, what do you need in order to feed yourself? Suggestions might include: land to grow your own food or to keep animals on; access to the sea and a boat to fish.
  • Have you met anyone who needs to rely on getting their food for themselves in these ways?



The World in a Supermarket Bag

Food is an excellent example of interdependence between countries in the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere. Many foods, such as rice, cocoa, bananas, and other fruits are grown or produced in the countries of the southern hemisphere and imported for consumption in the richer countries of the northern hemisphere. Thus there is a clear interdependence between producers in the South and consumers in the North. Considering where our food comes from can therefore help Pathfinders to identify the connections between their own lives and those of people and communities in other parts of the world.

Unpacking your Supermarket Bag

4. Divide the group into smaller groups of four. Give each group the table outlined in Appendix B, pens, and small blank cards to label the food for display. Ask each group to unpack their bag, record on their sheet the name of each food in the bag, how it is packaged, the country it comes from, the brand name, and its price. They should then write out labels to show the country of origin of each item and display their items on the cloth. Each group should then present their foods to the rest of the group.

Finally, help each group to find the countries from which their foodstuffs originated on the world map. Countries should be marked with a drawing pin and linked by string or wool to the Pathfinders labels of their foodstuffs. Bring the whole group together for reflection on the session and to look at the range of countries from which the food in their bags has come.

Discussion points

Points for discussion could include:

  • Which continents are in the South? (Africa, Asia, Latin America.)
  • How many of the food producing countries are in the South?
  • Why are many of our foodstuffs grown or produced in the South? (One reason is that climate allows production of fruit and vegetables for most of the year.)
  • Which foodstuffs in the supermarket bags come from which continents? (You may have rice from India and fruit from Malaysia. Does your group know that these countries are all in Asia?)

NB. When talking about the countries of the South try to convey the idea that they tend to be poorer than the countries of the North but that there are poor and rich people in both North and South.

5. Complete the Recording Activity.

6. Debrief

7. Plan your food-related random act of kindness. (See Debrief).


Reflection and Interpretation questions are included as Discussion questions throughout this Pursuit.

  • What does this Pursuit teach you about responsibility?
  • How can we be responsible with food?
  • What does it teach you about compassion?


  • How can you meet the needs of someone local who is in need of food this week?
  • As a group, plan a random act of kindness for someone with nutritional needs in your local area.



Appendix A

From where do we get our food?

We get our food by:
You can also get that same food by:

Appendix B

The World in a Supermarket Bag

How packaged
Where from