002 - Contemporary Approaches to Food Production

Geographic Knowledge and Understanding

Advantages and disadvantages of contemporary approaches to food production, including genetically modified organisms (GMOs), vertical farming and in vitro meat.


The process of contemporary food production can create wide ranging possibilities at different scales.


  • To have knowledge of what genetically modified organisms are.
  • To have knowledge of how vertical farming work.
  • To have knowledge of in vitro meat.
  • To have an understanding of the impact that GMO food, vertical farming and in vitro meat can have.

Key Terminology

            • Genetically Modified Organisms
            • Vertical Farming
            • In Vitro Meat

Define the key terms above by using the 'Useful Links' below.

Useful Links

Activity One - GMOs

Genetically Modified Foods have been the subject of debate for decades. Whether it is to with the amount of water that is need to produce wheat or rice or the perceptions around safety for human consumption. So how do we sift through the fiction to find out what is fact?

      • Read the articles and watch the YouTube clip below in the 'Useful Resources' box and create a for and against argument for the use of GM food.
      • The 'pot of destiny' will be used to choose who will arguing for which side.

Activity Two - Vertical Farming

Vertical farming is exactly what it says on the tin, the production of food in stacked layers. The layers can go inside old warehouses or even old shipping containers which utilises spaces that would have become derelict. It means that farming can actually take place in cities and therefore this reduces the distance from crop to shop.

      • Create a table with two columns.
      • Title the columns. positive and negative.
      • Use the resources below to fill in the table you have just created

Activity Three - In Vitro Meat

In vitro meat is cultured meat. Meat that has been tissue engineered within a lab. While the thought quite frankly sounds a little Frankensteinesque there are a number of positives for this concept. As the meat is created in the lab it is clean, animal welfare doesn't have to be a consideration because a live animal has not been killed. it also doesn't need feed to grow. Countries such as the USA, the Netherlands and Israel are leaders in in vitro meat exploration and it is currently on sale to the public in California. It all sounds so good...

      • Create a guide to inform the Year 10s about in vitro meat. Use the YouTube clip and articles in the 'Useful Resources' box to help you. Include the following points:
                • What is it?
                • How is it made?
                • What are the advantages of in vitro meat?
                • What are the disadvantages of in vitro meat?

Exam Style Question

Explain ONE advantage and ONE disadvantage of using GMOs to increase food production. [3 + 3 marks]

This lesson was development in collaboration with Richard Allaway from geographyalltheway. For more resources please visit www.geographyalltheway.com