Helping Students Discover Their Local Food Systems


The Lexicon of Sustainability’s PROJECT LOCALIZE food literacy initiative shows teachers and students how to identify and promote sustainable economic, cultural and social progress in their communities. Led by one highly-motivated teacher, students participating in our pilot project at Iowa’s Ames High School used our tools to map their local food system, interview producers, farmers, processors and key stakeholders at the local level, then create information artworks illustrating what sustainability looks like in Iowa.

In October 2013, The Lexicon brought these students’ artworks to Washington DC. We invited members of Congress and educational leaders to visit the public debut of this information art project.


Proyecto Localiza is a Spanish-language based curriculum for schools in rural and urban communities across Mexico. Students use our educational materials to discover the capacity-building methods and local innovators preserving Mexico’s culture and building the next economy.

The Lexicon of Sustainability works closely in Guadalajara with Instituto de Ciencias, in Querétaro with Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda, and in Oaxaca with Puente a la Salud, an organization advancing the health and well-being of rural communities across Mexico.

To learn  more about Proyecto Localiza

En Español

Project localize elevated my students from observers to contributing members of our community; they’re transforming our community through education and civic engagement.

Mike Todd – Teacher at Ames High School – Ames, IOWA

We’re looking for a few good teachers


The Lexicon of Sustainability is now looking for exemplary teachers and schools to participate in PROJECT LOCALIZE. Selected schools will receive a Lexicon of Sustainability curriculum, taxonomy, video tutorials for creating information artworks, a regional food mapping system blueprint, a public event planner and the chance to win the Lexicon of Sustainability Excellence in Education prize in 2014. By reaching students from a variety of agriculturally diverse communities—urban and rural— together we can spread these positive concepts across America, creating a new generation of sustainability literate citizens who will become our future leaders. NOMINATE A TEACHER today.

Students from Ames High School producing Information Artworks for the Localize: Ames Project.

Students from Ames High School producing Information Artworks for the Localize: Ames Project.

“It’s important for the next generation to know what methods are used to produce their food.”

Elena – 12th grade


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Use the “TEACHERS ACCESS AREA” button below to find downloadable links for documents to help guide you through the program. (Password Protected. To request the password to the Lexicon’s materials please contact us.)


“We deserve to know where our food comes from”

Will – 11th grade

Project Localize Awards

The Project Localize Awards recognize outstanding students and teachers that are participating in the educational art program. Every approved artwork and participant is eligible for all awards and judged based on the criteria in each category. A selection process involving the Lexicon of Sustainability, selected jurors and the public will determine the winners of each award.

Eligibility. Every artwork completed by a student & approved by the Lexicon of Sustainability prior to December 8, 2014 will be automatically eligible for any and all awards presented.

Judging. In 2015 the Lexicon of Sustainability will announce the winners for each of the following categories: Project Localize “Wackiest Word”, Most Innovative Teacher, and Outstanding School. Every artwork completed & approved prior to December 8, 2014 will be reviewed. A jury appointed by the Lexicon of Sustainability will select three nominees in each of the following categories: Best New Lexicon Term, Most Artistic, Most Informative, & Best Use of Science. The jurors will consist of key people from a variety of industries and range of professions. The public will then have 30 days to vote on their favorite nominee from the jury selections. One winner will be chosen based upon the highest number of votes in each category. Voting will take place online. Winners will be announced in early 2015.

Prize. Winners will be highlighted online and in a traveling exhibit in Washington D.C. sponsored by the Lexicon of Sustainability.

Category Descriptions:

Innovative in Education Award (Winner selected by the Lexicon of Sustainability): This award goes to the teacher who demonstrated the most dedication and unique integration of Project Localize into their classroom in 2014. The winner of this award will have shown a continuous out-of-box method of teaching sustain-ability. Candidates are chosen based on their student’s under-standing of a healthy food system through evaluation of the information artwork, surveys and correspondence throughout the program.

Lexicon “Wackiest Word” Award (Winner selected by the Lexicon of Sustainability): While one purpose of creating information artworks is to explore, discover, and convey critical terms and ideals in the scope of sustainability, fun and creativity are also vastly important and encouraged! Our “Wackiest Word” Award represents the word that encompasses a term that thinks outside the box, shows influence of good spirit and lightheartedness.

Outstanding School Award (Winner selected by the Lexicon of Sustainability): This award goes to the class who demonstrates an outstanding holistic understanding of sustainability represented in the overall collection of artwork completed by the students. The student art collection chosen as the winner will depict a clear synopsis of the local food system, utilizing creativity and excellent journalism to tell each story. The class will also be chosen based on it’s participation level through the Lexicon of Sustainability’s social media.

Best New Lexicon Term Award (Juried & Public Selection Process): This will be awarded to the information artwork that highlights the term that is most relevant to the progression of sustainability in 2014 and representative of ecological consciousness.

Most Informative Award (Juried & Public Selection Process): To highlight the importance of journalism and writing, this award focuses on the language that is most explicit and informative of the practice that is being described. Successful information is derived from quality reporting, critical evaluation, and effective communication.

Most Artistic Award (Juried & Public Selection Process): The artwork that uses the best use of photography will be selected for Most Artistic. Creating an informative artwork is just as important as creating a visually appealing and well-curated piece. Effective visuals are crucial in conveying the message.

Best Use of Science Award (Juried & Public Selection Process): The Best Use of Science Award recognizes the image that portrays the best use of science in the creation, education, and interpretation of the term and information artwork. Understanding science is a vital component in determining a representative lexicon of sustainability.

“We should help family farms by shopping at our local farmer’s market: it’s healthier for us and helps our environment!”

Tessa – 12th grade