It's one of the few food crops that actually originated in North America. But the sunflower was just a pretty diversion until Soviet breeders came up with oil-rich varieties that became a staple.
This podcast discusses the foods that are native to the U.S., diffusion of species and the advantages of sunflower oil in the making of potato chips. All of these become salient points for enhancing spatial thinking, understanding geographic patterns and processes.
Via Mr. David Burton