#TWKatHome Activity: How far does your pizza travel?

how far does your pizza travel

Photo by Anthony Duran on Unsplash

Tuesday, April 14, 2020


TasteWise Kids – are you hungry for some learning? I hope so as we have lots to share with you in the coming weeks and months. Thanks for joining us as we start our TasteWise Kids at Home (#TWKatHome) adventures. Check out our entire #TWKatHome series here.


We are kicking off our #TWKatHome learning with some fun activities focusing on how food travels from farm to table and we will put our tastes to work!


This content is based on our in-classroom Days of Taste program that we do with about 4,000 4th graders each year. In a nutshell, our Days of Taste program brings chefs into schools to work directly with students and takes students out to a local, working farm for a day so they can experience how food grows first-hand.


To learn more about our Days of Taste program, check out the Days of Taste section of our website  or this short video:



Connect with Us

Below, we are going to ask you to make your own pizza creation, and we can’t wait to see what you come up with! Share a picture of your finished pizza drawing on Facebook (@TasteWiseKids) or Instagram (@tastewise_kids), tag us and  use the hashtag #TWKatHome. You never know, we might feature your work in our next blog post or on our Instagram or Facebook!


This week’s theme: How food gets from farm to table

To get started, let’s put on our food explorers’ hats. Think about the food you buy from the store to cook for dinner. How did it get there? Have you thought about how far some of your food might travel before it ends up on your plate?


Activity: How far does your pizza travel?

We are going to do a simple activity that uses a pizza to help us think about where our food comes from and how far our food travels before we get to eat it. This is a key activity during Day #1 of our Days of Taste program and is always an eye-opener for the kids (plus, it adds in a bit of math skills in a real-life way).


Instructions are below or use this printable version: How Pizza Travels Activity


Materials for Activity

  • Get the printable version of the How far does our food travel worksheet here: How far does our food travel OR Use the below picture of the map of the United States and grab a blank sheet of paper.
  • Piece of paper
  • Pencil
  • Crayons, makers or something else to color with



  1. On a piece of paper, ask your children to draw a pizza with their favorite toppings. They can color in the picture as they want.
  2. Ask how long it normally takes to get a pizza delivered or to pick it up after the family decides pizza is for dinner. Have them write their answers in minutes below their picture.
  3. Ask students to estimate number of miles they think the pizza travels from where it was made to their door, and the amount of time.  Have them write their answer in miles and hours (or fraction of hours) below their picture. 
  4. Using the picture they drew as a guide, have him/her deconstruct the pizza to identify the key parts. You can create a chart of these ingredients on the same paper or a separate piece of paper, using the chart beneath the map of the United States as a guide. 
  5. Ask your child the key ingredients in each component of the pizza. He/she can write the answers down in the columns. Here are a few questions to help your child get to the key ingredient:
    1. Crust: What is crust made of? What is dough made from? What is flour made from? (answer = wheat)
    2. Sauce: What is pizza sauce made of? Where do we get tomatoes? When fresh tomatoes are not available, the sauce would probably be made of canned tomatoes.
    3. Cheese: does cheese grow on a farm? what is the main ingredient? (answer = milk which is found on diary farms)                                                         

*Key point: all of these core ingredients grow on farms.

  1. Help you child determine where each of these ingredients can grow. While there are multiple answers to where each ingredient can grow (and all can grow in Maryland), most times pizza ingredients are coming from all over the United States. Here is some helpful information and approximate distances for reference. You are welcome to also do your own research and/or to focus on a “local” pizza.
  • Wheat: We don’t have many wheat farms here in Maryland. Our wheat for pizza most often comes from KANSAS.  Find Kansas on the map.  How many miles is a farm in Kansas from Maryland? (Answer: About 1300 MILES).  About how long is the drive from Kansas to Maryland? (Answer: About 22 HOURS), nearly one day with no sleeping, if you don’t stop to eat or get out of the truck! 
  • Tomatoes: If we make fresh tomato sauce, where would we get ripe tomatoes this time of year? Someplace warmer, south of Maryland, maybe FLORIDA. How far is Florida from Maryland? (Answer: About 900 miles).  How long does it take to drive 900 miles?  (Answer: About 15 hours on the highway, without stopping). 
  • Cheese: While there is cheese grown in Maryland, the state of WISCONSIN has more dairy farms than any other state. Wisconsin is about 850 miles from Maryland. How long does it take to drive 850 miles? (Answer: The drive would be about 14 hours).
  • Toppings: Frequent answers, Pepperoni or sausage (from pigs), Chicken, Mushrooms (grow in Maryland, but one of the “mushroom capitals” of the US is about 100 miles, 2 hours, north in Pennsylvania), Pineapple (grown on pineapple plantations in Hawaii, thousands of miles from Maryland and have to use boat or plane).

* Key point is that different food grows in different parts of the country and not all on the same farms.

* Extension – part of the rationale for why things grow in different places is based on climate, amount of farmland, etc. Help your children determine how far each of these ingredients traveled to get to your table. This can be added to their worksheet.

  1. Now add up the miles and the time for your pizza and record it in your chart.
  2. Compare this number to how long it takes to get a pizza delivered/picked up.
    1. One number is much larger than the other.
    2. Talk about why that might be

Debrief/key points from activity:

  • Most food starts/grows on a farm even if we don’t see it start there (i.e. we just see it at a grocery store).
  • Food can travel long distances to get to us. While we have a lot of great farms in Maryland, much of food still travels from far away.
  • The amount of miles these ingredients travel is much bigger than the number of miles from the restaurant or grocery store (because a restaurant or grocery store is the last stop for food before it comes to our home)


Don’t forget to share your pizza!

Share a picture of your finished pizza on Facebook (@TasteWiseKids) or Instagram (@tastewise_kids), tag us and  use the hashtag #TWKatHome. You never know, we might feature your work in our next blog post or on our Instagram or Facebook!


Want to keep learning?

Let’s explore how your food gets from the farm to grocery shelves and eventually to your house – here’s a few fun resources to check out:

  • Listen to or watch the song “Oats, Peas, Beans and Barley Grow” (Here are lyrics if you’d like to follow along).
    • Talk about the different foods and how they grow in the ground and then are picked so people can eat them.
    • If you can, show them a picture of each and talk about what is the same and different (identify the colors; are some bigger or smaller than others, etc.).
    • Older kids could try to write a different version with different foods or answer these more in-depth questions listed in this larger lesson plan.
  • Read the book How did that Get in My Lunchbox? by Chris Butterworth – a favorite book in my household. You can use this free video of it being read aloud. And if you want some additional resources or activities, check out this set of support materials by the Reading is Fundamental Organization.
  • For high school students, check out this comprehensive and informative free curriculum – Food Span – created by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for a Livable Future all about our food system. There are many lessons and cool activities to undertake. To get a good overview of our food system, use the Lesson A from Unit 1 and then decide where to go from there.
  • Have your kid write (or draw) a story of a single ingredient. Have them imagine they are writing the life story of a favorite fruit or vegetable (or as an added challenge, a favorite food that is a combination of ingredients – brownie, fajitas, etc.
    • Questions to consider: How does it grow? Where does it live? What happens when it’s ready to be harvested? How does it get to be eaten? 


How to talk about how food tastes

While many kids are more than happy to tell us how they feel about a new food, they often struggle with how to express it beyond “yuck” and “yum”. Use this printable sheet to help expand your “taste vocabulary” – this will be important for next week’s activity, when we start tasting together:

Words to describe Taste

Don’t have a printer? No problem. Pick your favorites and write them down (or have your children practice their best handwriting and write them down as you get dinner on the table). Keep this list near the table and have each person (adults included!) choose a new word to describe one food on their plate each day. Or make a game of it to see who can use the most words in a week.


Up Next

  • If you’re interested in learning more about how taste works, tune into our Facebook page at 2:30 on Friday, April 17th – our Executive Directory, Wendy Jeffries, will be going live with an easy taste experiment you can do with your kiddos at home. 
  • Starting this Friday, we want to share tips with you when you might need them most – headed into the weekend! Tune back in on Instagram and Facebook for #TWKFamilyFridays – this week we’re telling you more about how involving your kids in meal planning and dinner prep can help grow their food and cooking knowledge AND maybe even take something off your to do list.