Thunder Bay students learn farming from the Pizza Project

A cheesy tradition introduces students to agriculture

By Clare Bonnyman, CBC News Posted: Apr 14, 2016 7:30 AM ET

Grade 3 students from Thunder Bay are learning where all the ingredients for pizza come from at the annual Pizza Project Wednesday and Thursday at the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition.

It’s a tradition for Marian Benka, the honourary director of the CLE, who has been running the annual event for 24 years.

It’s an important way to educate students and bring the farm to the city, she said.

“They have to know that there are a lot of things that go into [pizza] before they can get it,”  Benka said.

Benka expects more than 600 children to attend this year’s two day event.

Students go through eight stations to learn about agriculture, including dairy, sausage, vegetables, machinery and nutrition.

Along the way they plant their very own tomato plant to take home, and at the end they get to savour a hot a slice of pizza.

Pepperoni Pizza and Equality.

As a young person –and also a major fan of pizza- this piece by Matt Gurney for the National Post certainly jumped out at me. I can easily remember days when greasy pizza was delivered hot to the school, and a dollar or two would buy you a slice of cheesy goodness. A welcome change from the ham-and-cheese sandwiches in a brown paper bag, pizza days were a memorable part of elementary school. So for me, the idea of ending “Pizza days” at school because of gluten allergies seemed ridiculous. Had these allergies not been present before? Where would lunch come from? I had a lot of questions before I even began to read.

The article itself provides a light-hearted view at what is obviously not a pressing issue. It’s clear that the piece speaks more to the human interest or emotional side of news value measures. Who doesn’t remember pizza days as a kid? Moreover, who would be sad if these days were to end? It must also be noted that the paper – The National Post– is based in Toronto, and therefore the proximity holds news value as well as it is regarding schools in the GTA.  Overall, the piece is well written, clear, concise and thorough. It’s easy to understand the issue as well as how Gurney is writing about it. Again, lighthearted, and almost wholly said tongue-in-cheek; as the title states, “Ban bureaucratic stupidity. Save pizza day.” This tone makes it more effective than a traditional news story, considering that no one would believe a serious, hard-hitting news story about pizza. The tone used is effective for the subject matter, and adds to the piece. It also includes many references to other events and articles, backing up the facts of these fundraisers being ‘cash cows’ for the schools. I might include more interviews or quotes from people involved or official documents. Some more sources would add to the story and increase its value, giving more perspectives and rounding out the coverage of the issue. Perhaps even some kids explaining their ties to pizza day, playing more into the emotional attraction of the piece. Either way, it would be nice to get someone else’s voice into the piece to make it seem less individual to the writer, and more relatable to the general public. It’s just a shame that pepperoni doesn’t have a voice. That would certainly make for some ‘flavorful’ journalism.