I’ve used a school assembly a number of times entitled “The Flying Pizza”, its aim is to teach children and young people about the varied origins of our food and the benefits and disadvantages of food that ‘travels miles’. Check out the assembly:
Preparation and materials
- Pizza ingredients: a pizza base, tomato puree or pasta sauce, tuna fish chunks, sliced pineapple, sliced red pepper, sliced mushrooms, grated or mozzarella cheese, pepper grinder containing black peppercorns, and a pizza box.
- PowerPoint presentation to display ‘food miles’.
Explain that when you’re feeling hungry it’s sometimes a treat to send out for a pizza. Remind the children of the distance to the local pizza take-away – for many people a pizza can be cooked and delivered in a short time.
Introduce the idea that the ingredients of a pizza may have travelled far further. Explain by inviting a group of children to help place toppings on the prepared pizza base. Display the miles that the different ingredients have travelled. (Distances are approximate.)
- Flour to make the base, fromNorth America – 5,400 miles
- Tomatoes fromItaly(the home of pizzas) – 1,000 miles
- Tuna fish fromMauritius- 5,600 miles
- Pineapples grown and harvested inKenya- 4,500 miles
- Peppers grown in Dutch glasshouses – 400 miles
- Mushrooms grown in theUnited Kingdombut transported from the growers to your supermarket – 200 miles
- Black pepper fromIndia- 5,000 miles
- Mozzarella cheese, also fromItaly- 1,000 miles
So the pizza that is delivered from ‘just around the corner’ has in fact flown an incredible distance of 23,000 miles around the world.
Remind the children that much of the food we take for granted has been produced in other parts of the world, travelling great distances to our plates. Encourage them to look at the labels of tins and packets as they shop. A group of children may present other examples of locally bought but globally produced food, e.g. tea, coffee, fruit.
Point out that on average vegetables travel 600 miles to your supermarket, some by plane, and all by lorry.
‘Food miles’ – that is the distance food is transported from producers to consumers (those who buy and eat it). Modern transport enables us to enjoy a world of food on our doorstep. The down side of this, however, is that much fuel is burned by the food industry, at a cost both to consumers and to the environment. Also, those who are food producers do not always receive fair prices from customers on the other side of the world.
Encourage everyone to use the occasion of a Harvest celebration to think about the varied origins of our food and the benefits and disadvantages of food that ‘travels miles’.
This post is part of the Blog Action Day.