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NOTE: All Scouts Canada Staff will be on summer break from Monday, July 26 to Tuesday August 3. All offices are closed.

Be a Farmer for a Day

We all rely on farmers to provide us with healthy food to eat! Unfortunately, there are lots of things that can affect a farmer’s ability to grow food and earn an income. Learn about how things outside of a farmer’s control can lead to poverty in this role-playing game.

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Plan

  • What do you think affects the amount of money a farmer can earn? 
  • Why are farmers important? 
  • How will you organize your groups? 

Do

  • Start by organizing into groups of 3-5. Each group will represent a farm where corn is grown. Whichever group can “grow” the most corn by the end of the game wins! 
  • Once you are in your groups, start “growing” the corn. Do this by drawing and cutting corn from pieces of paper.  
  • After the groups have been making their corn for a few minutes, start handing out “circumstances to the groups. Some examples of circumstances include: 
  • There is a drought in your region which caused your crops to fail. Throw out 5 pieces of corn.  
  • There was a shortage of corn this year which means the corn you grew is more valuable. Write “X2” on five pieces of corn. At the end, each of these will count for two pieces of corn.  
  • There was a lot of corn grown this year which means the corn you grew is less valuable. Write “1/2” on five pieces of corn. At the end each of these will count for half a piece of corn.  
  • A valuable piece of equipment breaks. You must get rid of one of your writing utensils.  
  • You are injured while farming. You can only make corn with your non-dominant hand.  
  • Make sure every group is given at least two “circumstances”. 
  • At the end of the game have each group count up the total amount of corn they were able to “grow”. 

Review

  • What circumstances can lead to a farmer losing their income? 
  • How did you feel when you received a circumstance that meant you wouldn’t be able to produce as much corn? How do you think a farmer would feel in a similar situation? 
  • How do you think natural disasters can cause poverty? 

Materials

  • Paper 
  • Pencils 
  • Scissors  

Keep it Simple

Learn about farming straight from the source! Invite a local farmer to come tell you about their work, talk to farmers at a farmer’s market, or take a trip to a local farm (Link to A Moo-ving Adventure).  

Take it Further

While crop failures and changes in crop prices can cause poverty, living in poverty can also affect your ability to farm effectively. For example, if you are poor you might not be able to afford to buy seeds, fertilizer, or other equipment you need. Do research to find out what organizations support farmers living in poverty.