What is a producer?

Plants are the first level in the food chain or food webs and are known as primary producers. They make all the food and energy that is found in an ecosystem. Without plants people or other animals could not survive because we would not have the food or energy that we need. Plants and vegetable make their own food and energy through a process called photosynthesis.
Plants make their own food by using sunlight, carbon dioxide from the air, and water from the soil and converting it in the form of glucose/sugar.
In photosynthesis plants also produce oxygen which is left in the air for us to use.
In order to undergo photosynthesis plants need some helpers. One of the helpers they need is a green substance in their leaves called chlorophyll. Plants use this green substance to catch the energy they need from the sunlight.

Producers in other Ecosystems
Producers in the Desert

Plants - Desert
[Desert Plants]

In the desert many times there is very little rainfall during the year so animals may need to get their water from plants. The most common desert plant is the cactus. In order to eat a cactus the animals need to have the right kind of mouths or know how to avoid getting pricked, when they are trying to get food and water from a cactus.  

Producers in the Water

                   [Seaweed]                  [Phytoplankton]                            [Kelp]                          

Did you know that there are producers that live in the water? The producers within an underwater ecosystem are called phytoplankton. Phytoplankton are like any other type of plant who changes the sun’s energy into food and they also provide oxygen to their fish friends. Seaweed and kelp are also ocean producers. Phytoplankton and kelp are both part of the algae family and have no roots, stems or leaves like land plants and can only grow in shallow water where they can get what they need from sunlight.

Producers in the Forest
In the forest there are many different kinds of producers or plants. If you are an animal looking for food in any of the layers of the forest you will find something to eat.


Mature Trees

Mature Trees


Tree Saplings

Tree Saplings

Shrub Layer





Mature shrubs and bushes



Herb/Fern Layer

Tree Seedlings, Herbs, Ferns, Grass, Weeds

FernGrass and Weeds

Litter Layer




Producers in the Arctic
In the Arctic it can be very cold so there are only certain kinds of plants that can survive there. Some of the plants that survive in this area are mosses and lichens. Some of the moss in the Arctic lives underwater because they like the moisture. The most common moss in the Arctic is called Reindeer Moss.
MossReindeer Moss
       [Moss]                   [Reindeer Moss]

Producers in our Diet
Though we use plants to get our oxygen we also eat them as food. The producers that humans eat are usually called fruit and vegetables.

Fruits and Vegetable
[Fruits and Vegetables are the producers in our diet]

Did you know?
Some plants don’t get all the nutrients they need from the soil so they eat insects! These kinds of plants are called consumers, and there are over 400 types of plant consumers. The most common plant
consumer is called a Venus Fly Trap.

Venus Fly Trap
[Venus Fly Trap]


Lesson Plan Quiz Homework Activity The Food Chain