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The Flying Pizza - a Harvest Assembly

To appreciate the scale of global food production and the concept of food miles'.

by The Revd Alan M. Barker

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To appreciate the scale of global food production and the concept of 'food miles'.

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.
  • Pieces of card to display 'food miles' (see 2. below).
  • Optional: For 3. below, children could prepare examples of locally bought but globally produced food.

Assembly

  1. 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.

  2. 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, from North America - 5,400 miles
    Tomatoes from Italy (the home of pizzas) - 1,000 miles
    Tuna fish from Mauritius - 5,600 miles
    Pineapples grown and harvested in Kenya - 4,500 miles
    Peppers grown in Dutch glasshouses - 400 miles
    Mushrooms grown in the United Kingdom but transported from the growers to your supermarket - 200 miles
    Black pepper from India - 5,000 miles
    Mozzarella cheese, also from Italy - 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.

  3. 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.

  4. For KS2 children, introduce the concept of 'food miles' - 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.

  5. 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'.

  6. Cook and enjoy the pizza!

Time for reflection

Bible link: Deuteronomy 8.7-11. The people of the Old Testament were warned not to take for granted the ability of the earth to grow food. There is always the danger that with plentiful food supplies we don't stop to think how much we depend on others.

Creator God,
thank you for food from around the world
and for the different tastes that we enjoy.
Help us to use the resources of the earth wisely and well,
to the benefit of all peoples.
Amen.

 

Song/music

'Lord of the harvest' (Come and Praise, 133)

Publication date: January 2001   (Vol.3 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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