Students watch a video about Timeless Seeds, an organic seed and grain company headquartered in Montana. They answer questions about the video and have the option to create an ad for their own grain company.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Unit 9: Industry – Mining, Timber, and Agriculture" where students will consider the major resources and enterprises that form the basis of Montana’s economy.
5.2: Identify basic economic concepts (e.g., supply and demand, price) that explain events and issues in the community.
3.3: Describe and illustrate ways in which people interact with their physical environment (e.g., land use, location of communities, methods of construction, design of shelters).
Helena District 5.2: Relate concept of supply and demand to Montana’s economic development.
- Video: Organic Seeds and Grains | America's Heartland
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show videos to the class
- Class set of Organic Farming in Montana handout
Define for students the terms “supply” and “demand,” and provide real-world examples to help students understand.
Supply: How much of a product, service, or resource is available.
Demand: How many people want a product or service, and how much they are willing to pay for it.
How prices are affected by supply:
Example: In early summer, a farmer usually grows a large supply of strawberries—enough to satisfy the townspeople’s demand—so prices are low.
Example: Sometimes, a farmer grows too many strawberries—more than what the townspeople want. In this case, supply is higher than demand, so the farmer must lower his price to sell the strawberries. The lower price might entice more people to buy.
Example: During the winter, the farmer has only a small supply of strawberries—not enough to meet the townspeople’s demand. Because of this, he can raise prices, as some people will pay more to get the strawberries before they run out.
However, sometimes overall demand increases for a product. When people everywhere decide they want something, the prices for that thing go up across the board.
Let’s go back to the strawberry example. In this example, let’s say that studies have come out saying people are healthier and happier when they eat strawberries. These studies are publicized everywhere, and everyone learns about them. Prices for strawberries go up no matter what the season because the townspeople want more of them. This is an increase in demand. Sometimes if the price goes up, it can encourage more people to produce that product. If strawberries became more expensive because more people were eating them, it might encourage more farmers to grow strawberries.
Tell students they will be watching a video about the rise of an organic seed company, Timeless Seeds, which is located in Montana. Explain that the company doesn’t use pesticides or synthetic fertilizer in their products. Recently, the demand for organic and pesticide-free food has grown.
Distribute the Organic Farming in Montana handout to the class. Tell students they should take notes on the company’s products, how they are a benefit to Montana, and so forth.
Play the video, Organic Seeds and Grains | America's Heartland. [3:36]
Have students answer questions on the handout.
Review answers with students, and explain how supply and demand play into Question 2. Since organic products have become more mainstream, there is a greater demand for them. If more people want those products, this warrants an increase in supply. This means more farmers can successfully become organic farmers and make a living by filling that demand.
Organic seeds and grains, like lentils, chickpeas, and flax [0:54]
Local, conventional farmers struggle to maintain their profit margins, and organic products have become more mainstream. This means the demand for organic products is higher, and so there is a greater need for a supply of organic products. [1:36]
They provide jobs for local people with developmental disabilities. [1:54]