Pizza program a perfect fit

It may take a village to raise a child – but it takes dozens of volunteers to make a “Pizza Perfect.”

This year, over 800 local grade 3 students from Welling­ton County and Waterloo Re­gion learned about agriculture through the Pizza Perfect program at the Grand River Raceway.

The students spent the day taking part in a hands-on agricultural education program themed after that favored pie.  For some it was a chance to plant a tomato seedling, for others a chance to see the inside of a cow stomach.

Beginning at the Grand River Raceway in Elora in 2006, organizers staged the fourth event last week.

Over the two days, students participated a one-day program designed specifically for grade 3. Pizza typically represents all four food groups identified by Canada’s Food Guide to Heal­thy Eating. The awareness program involves a comprehensive study of agriculture, including: nutrition, food processing, economics, mathematics, science, arts and language, and agricultural careers. 

Pizza Perfect explores those subject areas with complete interactivity. Hands-on activities and live demonstrations in­clude milking a cow, cheese making and transplanting seed­lings. All those activities are needed to produce a single pizza.

Hosted by the Grand Riv­er Agricultural Society, Piz­za Perfect is made possible with the help of more than 50 volunteers and representatives from over 30 agricultural producer’s groups, associations and suppliers.

Dorothy Key, administrator of the Grand River Agricultural Society, was impressed by the “incredible response” to the event. She noted that registration for this year’s event filled up within a week-and-a-half and there was still a waiting list of 200 students to take part.

This year’s operation, she said, is completely run by over volunteers including retired farm­ers, educators, commodity groups, educators and dairy and pork producers.

Nearly two dozen activity centres explored different as­pects of the items used in creating a pizza

Students had a chance to get their hands dirty in planting seeds, rolling dough and finding out how yeast works.

Other booths offered close-up views of some of the massive farm machinery used on the farm and the need for safety around them.

It seemed the educators were having as much fun as the participants with the chance to share their knowledge.