Before We Eat: From Farm to Table
written by Pat Brisson; illustrated by Mary Azarian
2014 (Tilbury House)
Source: Orange County Public Library
As we sit around this table let's give thanks as we are able
to all the folks we'll never meet who helped provide this food we eat.
Cue Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man. This rhyming paean to workers sheds light on the many hands that make the everyday possible. I know I take for granted the easy accessibility of the food that I eat. Earlier this evening, I was complaining in my head that my local store didn't have a better selection of bagged apples. I should be grateful that there were apples available at all.
Before We Eat pays tribute to the workers who plow the fields, plant the seeds, pull in the nets, and all the other tasks that bring us the food that we eat. The rhyming text and Mary Azarian's wood carving illustrations are a fine tribute to those who don't receive a lot of credit for the important things that grace our tables.
With younger students, you could create a circle map and write down who was responsible for the lunch that was just eaten. Older students could create a flow chart to show the sequence of how the food that was in their lunchbox arrived there. This could also lead to discussions of reading labels and the availability of fresh food. There are many possibilities for lessons involving Before We Eat.