How we make stuff

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Can we do things differently

Or could the ingredients for your burger have been produced by a local farmer who farms the way nature does, turning waste from animals and crops into food and using the sun as a source of energy?

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A different way

Could the ingredients for your burger come from a local farm?

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Polyface farm

Meet a farmer who farms the way nature does.

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Interview at Polyface farm

Read more about Polyface farm.

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The power of ducks

Growing rice with a little help from ducks.

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Incredible Edible

Visit an English town that aims to grow all its own food.

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From manure to electricity

How hog farms can produce electricity.

Awesome Facts

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  • Every day, over 40 million burgers are eaten in the USA alone!
  • Sesame seed pods burst open when they are ripe, scattering the seeds. This is probably where the phrase ‘Open sesame’ comes from.
  • Did you know that people who eat food from their local area are called ‘locavores’?
  • Nearly one third of the food we buy ends up in the bin!
  • In 1800, there were 1 billion people on the planet. Today we are 7 billion. This is a lot of people to feed!
  • There are about 1,300,000,000 cattle in the world today. This is a lot of cattle to feed!
  • In some countries, you can join a cow share scheme. You buy a cow with other people and pay a farmer to look after and milk it. In return you get free milk.
  • The first burger in a bun was cooked on a farm in Oklahoma in 1891.
  • Half of the food we eat in the UK comes from other countries.
  • More than half of the population on earth live in cities. Urban farming is becoming more popular.
  • Have you ever heard of food miles? It is the distance between where your food was grown, raised or caught, and your plate.
  • To produce 1 kilogram of cheese, we need 10 litres of milk and, to produce this milk, we need 10,000 litres of water.
  • To protect vegetables grown in greenhouses, some farmers have introduced ladybirds that feed on unwanted bugs. No need for chemicals!
  • We can now grow food in a solution rich in nutrients instead of soil. This is called ‘hydroponics’.


Download fun and original activities to encourage 7 to 12 year old children to develop their understanding of a 'closed loop' economy and to stimulate discussion and debate.

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Based on the original book ‘How We Make Stuff’ by Christiane Dorion, Templar Publishing, 2012.
Website text by Christiane Dorion - Design by Harriet Pellereau.

© 2012 Ellen MacArthur Foundation - Illustration © Beverley Young - Text © Christiane Dorion