Hall uses pizza as educational tool
On Tuesday at the Ag Hall nearly 600 schoolchildren learned where their food comes from, using as their example a perennially favorite meal of children: pizza.
Students from five elementary schools in Kansas and three schools in Missouri attended presentations at the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame on each of the different kinds of food that make up a typical pizza: wheat, for the crust, vegetables for the healthy toppings and pizza sauce, meat for the pepperoni and sausage, and dairy, for the cheese.
The event is sponsored by Kansas Farm Bureau.
John Schlageck, public services manager for KFB, said the pizza day, now in its 14th year as an event, was conceived because there are "fewer and fewer people who grow up on the farm. We try to reach them at a younger age, and show them where food comes from."
That's important, Schlageck said, because too many children "think food comes from grocery stores."
Students attended presentations throughout the morning and early afternoon on agricultural products and processes given by the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Kansas Wheat Commission, the Midwest Dairy Council, Missouri Beef Council, Missouri Pork Producers Association, Missouri Soybean Association, Kansas Soybean Commission, Missouri Vegetable Growers and the Kansas Beef Council.
In one presentation given by Kansas Wheat Association, students learned how wheat flour is made and what are the different parts of the wheat kernel and their uses.
One of the high points of the day, not counting the pizza, was Rex Getz's "The Magical World of Agriculture" presentation in the center's auditorium. In the show Getz used magic tricks to teach students lessons about agriculture.
Nicole Hutton, a fourth-grader at Odessa Elementary School, said the most interesting fact she learned was what pigs eat: "soybeans."
Trevor Begmann, another Odessa fourth-grader, said he learned the average person eats 20 pounds of tomatoes a year.
The Kansas/Missouri Ag Day Pizza Party is held in conjunction with National Ag Day, an annual celebration of farmers and agriculture.
A team of about 30 agricultural-business professionals from both Kansas and Missouri volunteered to plan and produce the yearly event, including the event's logistics and raising funds for it.
Other sponsors of the Missouri/Kansas Ag Day, in addition to those that gave presentations, were the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame, Kansas Farm Bureau, Douglas County Farm Bureau, John Deere Agricultural Marketing Center, Johnson County Farm Bureau, Leavenworth County Farm Bureau, Missouri Beef Industry Council, Missouri/Kansas National Agri-Marketing Association, Tonganoxie Future Farmers of America and Wyandotte County Farm Bureau.