CyberFair Project ID: 7517

Close this Window

NOTE: Due to URL changes, some links may no longer be valid.

International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: “The Shorter, the Better”-The “Cultivation”and “Germination” of Food Mile
Category: 7. Environmental Awareness

School: Jhongsiao Elemantry School
    Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Taiwan

10 students, ages 10-12 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 1, 2013. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): none

Classes and Teachers: LI,CHIA-YUN ;Yang,Chih-wei

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

The agricultural production of Kaohsiung basically located in Chi-shan, Mei-nung, Da-shu, Da-liau, Da-she, Yan-chau, A-lian, Tian-liau, Nei-men and Jia-shian. The items of agricultural products are rich and diverse, such as rice, vegetables, honey, fruit, meat, eggs and milk, etc. The products are also in good quality. With the promotion of the city government, local foods are promoted not only to reduce food mile but also to save energy and reduce carbon to love the earth. Moreover, to help local farmers promote their agricultural products and make Kaohsiung a more friendly and better city.

2. Summary of Our Project

After the Kyoto protocol was signed, many countries started to realize the hazards of greenhouse gases to the earth. Therefore, governments in the world are anxious to achieve the goal of carbon reduction. Under the globalization of food systems, we expected to remind people to purchase local and seasonal food, take actions to reduce food mile, save energy and reduce carbon and cherish the earth as a smart and responsible consumer.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:1

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

The computer classroom and classroom in the school are equipped with 7 desktop computers with fiber optic Internet. Every participants has his/her own e-mail account and has basic capability of Word, Excel, PhotoCap, PowerPoint and web page design.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

(1)The problem solving of calculating food mile: At first, we expect that the food mile can be easily obtained while knowing the production place of food. Unfortunately, it is a wrong answer. The location of production place is usually represented by an area or a country (ex: Lin-yuan onion, American onion) instead of a specific place. As a matter of fact, the area of the production place is too wide for us to determine a specific production place. It is hard to determine which 'point' as the correct production place. In addition, there is a large diversity in the 'places' marked by everyone. However, the slightest difference leads to a huge loss. As a result, to design a program for finding and calculating the distance between two points on the map is far beyond our ability. As a solution to the problem, we hope to calculate the distance by existed websites on the Internet. The website should be easy to use, and most important of all, to obtain the same result when calculated by different users. We choose the Google Map and to calculate food mile for us. Although the results may not be as accurate as the actual transportation distance by air, by sea or by land, it may be a reference to the distance of food mile for the general public.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

From the present study, we learned the complete process of determining a research topic, planning the research direction and schedule, implementing the research plan and completing the whole research project. With the promotion of grade 1-9 curriculum, the research activities were designed based on the main structure of the seven learning fields. We expected to carry out the spirit of grade 1-9 curriculum by the research. And we found the agricultural development in Kaohsiung is so prosperous, and the products are excellent. It is such a rich land! We should eat more local food. Not only for reducing food mile, but for supporting the local farmers!

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

This is our first time to team up and attend the CyberFair contest. From the process of deciding topic, planning our research direction, problem solving and designing website, we completed the project with a humble and modest attitude in learning. Surprisingly, the results are beyond our expectations! First of all, we visited the superstore, the consumer shop, the stores and vendors to accomplish the investigation of the place of origin and transportation of food products. Next, we overcame the limitations of our ability and found the way to calculate the 'distance' of food mile. Accordingly, the carbon dioxide emission and environmental impacts can be obtained by calculating the formulae. By doing this, we may show the quantitative data to people and bring the concept of 'carbon reduction' to reality instead of a slogan. In addition, with the help of the Agricultural Bureau of Kaohsiung City Government, we gained insight into excellent local food ingredients with 'low food mile'. We also planted some Chinese cabbages in the campus, in order to achieve the ultimate goal of zero food mile. We may speak proudly and say, 'We've got the freshest vegetable in our home!' However, conducting questionnaire surveys and holding promotion activities for the teachers, students and residents was truly a big challenge for us, but we still completed the tasks smoothly. Everyone learned to express ourselves and became more self-confident. From the beginning to the end, we experienced the true value of teamwork and the courage to breakout. With these abilities, we believe that we may continue our study with more stable footsteps in the future.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

Computer:To process word and image data and design web pages. Computer software: 1.Microsoft XP 2.Internet Explorer: inquiry for information 3.Microsoft Word: word processing 4.Microsoft Excel: graphic processing 5. Microsoft Paint: to illustrate mind map 6. PhotoCap: image processing 7. Microsoft PowerPoint: for making slides for promotion 8. Kmplayer: to watch the recorded videos 9. Frontpage: for web page design Internet:Information inquiry, receive and send email, cloud hard drive, transferring website. USB Drive:For data storage and backup. Projector:To present slides or display computer screen. Digital camera:For photos and videos taking. Printer:For printing data, worksheets, questionnaire, interview script and DM. Telephone and mobile phone:For communication and contact. Copier:For copying data.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

Data collection:To understand the definition of food mile, the method to calculate food mile and the environmental impact. Questionnaire survey:To investigate how the middle-grade and high-grade students in our school and people know about and support for food mile. Field study:By conducting interviews with local stores, we are able to understand the purchasing principles of the stores and the difficulties in supporting and implementing food mile reduction due to the place of production. By visiting the Agricultural Bureau of Kaohsiung City Government, we know about the agricultural status and the promotion of local food policy in Kaohsiung. Implementation experience:To achieve the ultimate goal of zero food mile by planting vegetable in the campus. Promotion activity:To achieve the goal of influencing more people to support low food mile products by conducting promotion to all the teachers and students in the school and the community.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

According to our survey, (1) over 50% of the students are willing to take action and support the reduction of food mile and promote the idea to their families. We believe that with the effort of the new force, the ecological environment and environmental protection in Taiwan will be improved. (2) Over 90% of the people are willing to take action and support low food mile diet. They also expect the government to keep devoting efforts in persuading the owners of the stores to mark the food mile clearly on their products, which will be more convenient for consumers to identify when purchasing the goods. What's the difference of our contribution to the local? Although we are elementary school students, we are happy to go outside of the campus and devote ourselves to the community. It is great to promote the concept of reducing food mile, saving energy and reducing carbon to cherish the earth. Moreover, to help the local farmers. We are young, but full of ambition! What can the local people learn from our website? References to the production places of the “six categories of food”, and the method to calculate food mile and carbon dioxide emission.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

It was a challenge for us to conduct questionnaire survey in the community, Costco, the consumer shop for the staff of Kaohsiung City Government, the “KAO Shop” and the markets to investigate people's opinions toward food mile. We were too shy to invite unfamiliar residents to fill in the questionnaires for us. We were often refused by people due to rushing for somewhere else. However, we remained the courage to try. By sharing the task with other team members, we accomplished 251 effective questionnaires!As the result,we would say thankyou to all the people who helped us.And the another nice exprience is:we devote ourselves to the community to make people understand the importance of reducing food mile and eating local food. During the promotion activities, some people and vendors take the initiative to ask whether we need help and encourage us, which makes us feel warm. On the other hand, some vendors are busy with business and keep us waiting or refuse us. The most impressive experience was that the vendor kept us waiting for half an hour before accepting our demand.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

Discoveries During the transportation of food, not only energy is consumed but also produces carbon dioxide emission. The food miles of imported food are incredibly high. We must reduce buying. In case of local products in Taiwan, we should choose the local food with lower food mile. This is the wisest choice and also a duty for every consumers under the globalization of food choice.

Lessons There are many food ingredients that may be produced domestically or imported. When buying, if we do not pay attention to the directions on the products or ask the vendors, we might purchase the products with higher food mile. Besides, it is impropriate to buy special and tasty food (for example, cherries) only to satisfy the desire for delicious food. It will cause sharp increase in carbon dioxide emission and become environmental burden.

Surprises In fact, the agricultural development in Kaohsiung is so prosperous, and the products are excellent. It is such a rich land! We should eat more local food. Not only for reducing food mile, but for supporting the local farmers!


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 7517)

Close this Window