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World Food Day activities and ideas for primary schools

World Food Day activities and ideas for primary schools

World Food Day is celebrated every year on the 16th October. This year it once again falls on a school day: Wednesday 16th October 2019.  To mark the occasion, we've gathered some of the best World Food Day activities and ideas on the internet for primary teachers to use in class.


Click to go straight to the activities…


Why is World Food Day celebrated on 16th October?


The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) was founded on this date in 1945.


What is World Food Day?


World Food Day is held to raise awareness of the suffering caused by hunger and obesity, of the importance of nutritious diets and food security, and of the need for more sustainable food systems.


What is 'food security'?


Food security means being able to have adequate supplies of food to live healthily. To have food security:


  • People must have enough money to buy food
  • Food must be affordably-priced
  • There must be reliable supply chains for food
  • There must be enough reserves of food, or reliable enough supply chains for a variety of foods, to ensure that access to food is not interrupted
  • The food available must be nutritious, so those who consume it can lead active, healthy lives


Food factory

For people to have food security, adequate supplies of nutritious food must always be readily available. Food supply chains must be reliable and uninterrupted.


What are 'sustainable food systems'?


Sustainable food systems are balanced. Effective, sustainable food systems affordably provide an adequate amount of food to meet demand while also supporting the ecosystems they rely upon for the production of food.


A good example of a more sustainable food system is the recently announced greenhouse system in Norfolk and Suffolk, set to produce 10% of UK tomatoes. The greenhouses will be heated by warm water pumped from nearby water treatment plants (the heating of the water is a consequence of the water treatment process). This method produces far lower carbon emissions than traditional growing methods. It also reduces food miles and establishes a more reliable supply of food in the local area.


Freshly caught fish

Sustainable food systems and circular economies are vital for protecting the ecosystems which produce our food. Sustainable fishing strategies include fishing quotas and using biodegradable nets.


World Food Day Facts


  • 800 million people around the world suffer from hunger.
  • In parts of the world where hunger is a big issue, life expectancy is shorter, infant mortality is higher, and productivity is lower.
  • Around the same number of people around the world suffer from obesity due to unhealthy diets.
  • Obesity kills more people than hunger.
  • Inefficient, unsustainable food systems harm ecosystems and contribute to global warming. Changing the way we produce food is key to tackling climate change.
  • As the climate changes, we will have to change the way we produce food: yields will decrease, and new food sources will have to be found.
  • In developed countries, tackling obesity would save hundreds of billions of pounds in healthcare costs.
  • In countries where hunger is an issue, eliminating hunger would dramatically increase productivity and national wealth.
  • The first World Food Day was celebrated in 1979. Today, it is officially recognised and celebrated with official events in more than 150 countries.
  • Every year, World Food Day has a new theme. This year (2019), the theme is 'Healthy diets for a #zerohunger world'.


World Food Day Activities, Ideas and Curriculum Links


World Food Day is an excellent national day for learning about in schools because it has good links to many areas of the primary National Curriculum. Here are some of the best World Food Day activity ideas to try with your class:




The life processes of animals, including humans

Take a look at the human digestive system and the functions of organs such as the stomach, liver, gall bladder and intestines.


Ecosystems and biodiversity

Learn about the ways in which diverse ecosystems provide for us, and why it is important to protect and sustain them.


Working scientifically

World Food Day is the ideal time to break out some practical, one-off Science investigations and experiments involving food. Why not look at some ways in which food is produced and preserved, such as baking bread, pickling vegetables or making butter?


Design and technology


Cooking and nutrition

Prepare healthy, nutritious and seasonal meals from a variety of ingredients.


Food packaging

Design functional, attractive food packaging which also shows features such as ingredients and nutritional values.


PSHE/Citizenship/Education for Social Responsibility


Fair Trade

Find out about fair trade products, and how they help ensure food security for food producers in other parts of the world.


Reducing Waste

Learn how reducing waste, including food waste, can help protect the environment.


Circular Economies

Discover how circular economies work – and how sustainable food systems are a vital part of a circular economy that can protect and sustain the planet.




Human Geography

Discover where our food comes from, and how different foods can be produced in different climate biomes around the world.




  • Writing instructions (recipes)
  • Examining and improving food labelling
  • Writing information texts about food security, hunger and obesity
  • Persuasive writing – arguing for reduced waste, better diets or improved food supply chains




  • Ratio and proportion: scaling recipes
  • Statistics: making charts and graphs to show balanced diets





Religious Education


Special foods, fasting and feasting

Learn about various traditions of world religions involving food, and discover why certain foods are considered 'special' in different religions.


World Food Day lesson planning, activities and resources by PlanBee


We know it's often tricky to find time to do your own planning for special days such as World Food Day. It can be even harder to find high-quality ready-made resources to use with your class. That's why we've gathered together a large collection of lesson planning packs—and some completely free resources, too—that you can use on World Food Day. Many of them have excellent curriculum links like those we've described above. All of the lesson planning packs are fully-prepared and ready to teach, so you can ensure excellent learning without having to spend extra hours planning!


Check out our World Food Day lesson planning and resources…


Oli Ryan

I'm a former UK primary school teacher, now writing for about issues affecting teachers, schools and pupils.

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Twitter: @planbeeoli

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