How Does it Grow? is the first online hub for teaching agricultural literacy to ages 10 through adulthood through the power of storytelling.
By creating broadcast-quality videos and other free, multi-platform tools, our goal is to reconnect people with how their food grows in order to inspire greater connection with — and demand for — whole, natural foods.
With the release of just the first few episodes, the series has attracted a global audience of over 1,000,000. The series is distributed by PBS, across all their streaming platforms, and by Yahoo, alongside select partners like the Food Network, The New York Times and Martha Stewart.
Each five-minute episode is produced as a stand-alone piece that educates as it entertains: telling the story of a single crop from field to fork, with tips on how to incorporate the food easily into your diet.
Collectively, the series will serve as the foundation for a substantive web-based curriculum that provides teachers with all the tools they need to teach agricultural literacy, including worksheets and hands-on demonstrations that expand on the themes in each video — from food waste to organics. Recipes and shopping guides will help students learn to choose wholesome foods and incorporate them into their diets. A children's book will take readers through the A-to-Zs of fruits, vegetables and grains, highlighting how they grow and how they're used by cultures around the world.
We aim to impact a wide cross-section of the public directly, even globally. As a web-based initiative, How Does it Grow? will be accessible wherever there is an Internet connection. And though the videos are produced as educational tools, they are also crafted to inspire, entertain and appeal to audiences outside of an academic environment.
Areas of Impact:
- The contemporary historical and cultural record. The How Does it Grow? web series will be the most complete visual record of modern farming in existence. Just as the Svalbard Global Seed Vault ensures the survival of our seeds, How Does it Grow? promises to be a visual reference library for how to use them.
- Human health. How Does it Grow? will provide people with the fundamental criteria they need for identifying healthy foods plus the knowledge to incorporate them into their diet. Numerous health studies show that a diet rich in whole, unrefined foods reduces heart disease and diabetes and can lead to significant weight loss.
- Agriculture markets. To eliminate the existence of so-called food deserts — neighborhoods without access to fresh produce — there must be increased market demand for healthy, whole foods. Education is an effective catalyst for creating long-lasting demand.
- US food policy. Currently, farmers receive subsidies to grow commodity crops like corn and soy. Their surplus has inspired food manufacturers to turn these cheap ingredients into products like high-fructose corn syrup, which are used to make unhealthy (and addictive) processed foods. Farmers have little incentive to grow healthful fruits and vegetables unless our food policy shifts in favor of these foods. Market-driven demand for whole foods is one of the most effective tools for changing food policy. Education tools like How Does it Grow? can help drive that demand. It can also help inspire a greater public interest in food system issues.