Learning about pizza
Fourth graders from Rugby elementary schools walked to Pierce County Memorial Hall last Thursday morning for a lesson on a tasty topic – pizza.
“It’s all about where your food comes from,” said area farmer Dallas Hager, who taught how wheat goes from a crop in a field to flour, and winds up as pizza crust.
“This is the fourth year that we’ve been doing this in Rugby,” noted Jennie Brossart, Secretary-Treasurer of the Pierce County Farm Bureau, which sponsors “Project Pizza” in conjunction with the North Dakota Farm Bureau.
Brossart said the educational event features display stations where local farmers and Rugby High FFA students explain how pizza ingredients come from farms.
“There are 5 different stations that we have,” Brossart noted. “We have oils, grains, sweeteners, dairy and meat. It’s to try and get the kids to realize where their food comes from, all the different parts of agriculture that go into making their food.”
Ely Elementary students from classes taught by Lindsey Bush, Liisa Foster and Kerry Grochow joined Katie Liebert’s 3rd/4th combination class from Little Flower Elementary School for the activity.
“It’s a really good program,” Foster said, “and we’re really thankful they put it on. It’s fun for the kids, and it ties in perfectly with our North Dakota studies, and study of agriculture, so we’re really glad to be here.”
At the first station, the students learned about sugars in their diet, and how the sugars start as plants on local farms. When asked what was on their menu for lunch, the fourth graders giggled, “pizza!”
Smiling, Foster said the menu item was “probably a coincidence, but I don’t know”.
Perhaps it was a coincidence the activity fell on Pi Day, or 3/14, too.
At the grain station, Hager explained how pizza dough and flour start as crops on a farm.
“We have some of the safest food in the world,” Hager told the students. “Probably the safest food in the world.”
“So, now that the farmer has grown his food safely,” Hager continued, “he harvests it, he takes it to the elevator, and after the elevator, it goes to the mill.”
“And then, he grinds the wheat,” Hager added, inviting the group to sample some ground wheat kernels.
Another station followed the production of cheese from its beginning as milk from cows. “The farmers get the milk to the dairy; it goes there by trucks,” explained Josh Anderson.
“At the dairy, they pasteurize the milk. Do you know what that means pasteurizing?” Anderson asked the students.
“That means killing any bacteria in the milk that might make you sick,” he told them.
Brad Wangler explained the nutritional benefits of the beef and pork that go into sausage and other pizza toppings at his station, and Chris Brossart’s station showed the students how the oil used in crusts and sauces comes from canola fields on area farms.
Rugby High FFA students Corey Schmaltz, Isaac Volk, and Collin Kraft helped with the activity.
“I think we will plan it for next year,” Jennie Brossart said. “The kids really seem to enjoy it, and I think the teachers like bringing the kids over.”
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