Stefan Gates explores food production and land use, comparing the amount of land needed to produce snail protein compared to lamb protein. He meets Dave Walker, from Dorset Escargot in Devon, and finds out all about rearing snails, including how much land they need and how many snails he produces per week.
Stefan then travels to Sussex to meets students from Oathall Community College. The school have their own farm and rear lambs for their own farm shop. He helps them collect and analyse data on the lambs, including the amount of land they use. Then, he challenges the students to calculate the amount of land needed to produce one kilo of snail protein using the data he collected from the snail farm. They use the same approach so they can compare lamb and snail as a source of protein and come up with a ratio of 45-1.
Stefan cooks up some snails for the students to taste and they discuss the significance of their result over some garlicky snails on toast.
The class could copy the calculations done by the students at Oathall Community College, constructing their own algorithms to calculate the amount of land required to produce units of protein for different animals and vegetables (green beans, broad beans, haricot beans, soya beans and wheat).
Students could also find out about other issues in world farming, for example, what is the impact of us eating a beef burger on the environment? What role does maths play in helping to raise awareness of the issue of mass farming, and can it help provide any solutions?