Teaching About Food and Water Security


Food and water security exist when people at all times have access to a sufficient quantity and acceptable quality of food and water. These sustainable development issues are widespread and complex, which can be seen by the fact that two of the United Nations 17 SDGs recognize the importance of accomplishing zero hunger and clean water and sanitation. According to the UN, as of 2018, moderate or severe food insecurity affected 26.4% of the population worldwide. As of 2017, 4.2 billion people lack safely managed sanitation. Therefore, teaching about food and water security is important for the future of millions of people across the globe. Many people do not know where their next meal is coming from or are required to walk several miles to gain access to clean water. By learning about these concepts, students will understand more about these global realities and specifically how they can make a difference.


There are many resources available online for teaching students about food and water security. Some of these resources focus solely on food security or water security while others tie the two concepts together.

Lesson Plans

  1. Learn & Teach – Food Sovereignty: Change for Children (CFC) provides food and sovereignty learning resources, global projects addressing food, recent CFC Food related stories, and more global information resources. Depending on the specific resource, students may participate in a relay activity to learn about food supply and resources in Canada, watch a documentary about food waste and food rescue, or participate in a series of activities to learn about the globalness of food. Those who are interested in teaching their students about food issues on a global scale should take a look at these resources!
  2. Lesson Plan – Food Insecurity: The Pulitzer Center offers a lesson plan on food insecurity which will introduce the concept of food insecurity, explain the factors that contribute to food insecurity, and discuss how food insecurity has manifested in Nigeria, India, and Guatemala. In this lesson, students will read articles from the World Health Organization on food security, listen to NPR’s radio broadcast, “Volatile Food Prices Grab G-20’s Full Attention,” and watch videos from PBS on the food problems in various countries. After each activity, students will have a whole class discussion guided by specific questions provided in the lesson plan.
  3. Hunger and Food Security Lesson Plan: The John Hopkins Center for a Livable Future has put together a hunger and food security lesson plan. In this lesson, resources, including vocabulary definitions, background reading, presentation slides, and student handouts, are provided to help educators conduct a couple of lecture-discussions and activities on the concepts.
  4. Food Security Game: Peace Corps offers a food security game in which students will assume a new identity and occupation to explore how food insecurity affects populations in different ways. Educators will read a series of sentence examples and students will line up and step forward or backward depending on who their assumed identity happens to be. For example, if the student is portraying a person who is under eighteen or over seventy years of age, they may be asked to take a step back. After the activity, students will participate in a whole class discussion on food security and discuss what factors contribute to food security.
  5. The Water Crisis Lesson: NanoSense provides a lesson on the water crisis. Teacher materials, including PowerPoint slides with teacher notes, a student data worksheet and corresponding answer key, and a quiz answer key are provided. Educators who want to focus solely on teaching their students about the water crisis should take a look at this lesson!


  1. Food Security Depends on Water Security – And We Need to Act Now: The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) provides an article which explains how food security depends on water security and why we need to act now. The article first explains the relationship between food and water security before jumping into outlining a few strategies, many of which include improving water security, to help the world move towards greater food security.
  2. How Climate Change and Water and Food Insecurity Drive Instability: The Center for American Progress has published an article discussing how climate change and water and food insecurity drive instability. The piece touches on the state of water and food security in the world, climate change, water, and food supplies as drivers of instability, water and food supplies as recruitment tools during conflict, and other related topics. From this article, students will learn the ins and outs of how climate change and water and food insecurity contribute to the instability and conflict present in many countries.
  3. Food and Water Security and the Climate Crisis – What You Need to Know: The Climate Reality Project offers an article on what people need to know about food and water security and the climate crisis. The article explains how a little change can have a huge impact, the relationship between freshwater and climate change, and carbon and the “junk food effect.” Educators who want their students to learn about the relationship between food and water security and climate change should consider implementing this article into one of their lessons!
  4. Without Ensuring Universal Access to Water, There Can Be No Food Security: The Guardian provides an article discussing how without ensuring universal access to water, there can be no food security. The author first explains how a new report on water and food security and nutrition shows how land, food, and water issues are linked before demanding that this must be reflected in policy making.

Informational Sites

  1. United Nations
  1. Water, Food, and Energy: The United Nations provides information on water, food, and energy. Specifically, the article touches upon the rising demand, energy mix, agricultural efficiency, serving cities, ensuring food and nutritional security, and facts and figures.
  2. Water and Food Security: The United Nations offers a brief informational article on water and food security which discusses food security and the MDGs, the definition of food security, important facts about food security, what can be done to achieve global food security, and U.S. initiatives that are helping to raise the issue.
  3. What is Water Security? Infographic: The United Nations has put together an infographic on water security that will help students understand the key elements of water security and how important water is to achieving a larger sense of security, sustainability, development, and well-being.
  1. What is Water Security?: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provides a brief overview on water security, why water security matters, how water security can be improved, and water security outcomes.
  2. Food Security: The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) offers information on the topic of food security in the form of publications, data sets, blogs, events, news, experts, websites, tools and models, and projects.


Teaching about food and water security is an important task because millions of people across the globe suffer from hunger and dehydration. Specifically, students will be able to understand how food and water insecurity impact the individuals and stability of a nation. The only way to make a change in the future is to educate our young about the greatest issues our societies are facing. Therefore, students should be given the opportunity to learn about food and water security in order to not only understand what a substantial amount of people face on a daily basis but to also make their own decisions about if and how they would like to contribute to the United Nations’ two SDGs of zero hunger and clean water and sanitation.