Illinois schools join Great Apple Crunch
Students around the state to celebrate local apples during Farm to School Month
Oak Park, IL — At exactly noon on Thursday, Oct. 22, students in more than 50 school districts across Illinois will simultaneously bite into locally grown apples for The Great Apple Crunch 2015. All this collective crunching is a one-day effort to focus on local, healthy, farm fresh food from the Midwest and Illinois during Farm to School Month.
The Great Apple Crunch is a pilot program coordinated by the Illinois Farm to School Network, Agriculture in the Classroom and the Illinois Farm Bureau. This is the first year Illinois will participate in the Great Apple Crunch, and the fourth year of the regional Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. It is the main event of Farm to School Month, a time to celebrate healthy kids, farmers and communities.
The local apples that students will eat are purchased from Illinois apple growers, as well as apple growers from Michigan and Wisconsin. Buying local apples stimulates the local farm economy. The Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom created and will provide supporting materials that offer students education about apples and local agriculture. Each participating school will design its own additional Great Apple Crunch activities.
“We believe that Farm to School programs empower children and their families to eat more healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables, while also strengthening local economies,” states Lydia Mills, SGA Farm to School Network Coordinator. “Our vision is that every school in Illinois will participate in Farm to School by 2020.”
In Chicago, over 90 schools will be serving local apples, and all schools will serve an entirely local menu, meant to recognize local farmers and communities. Some apple varieties grown in the Midwest include: Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Gala, Fuji, Golden Supreme, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, and many more.
The Great Apple Crunch will feature fun and educational activities — including orchard and farm visits, apple taste tests, students planting apple trees in school gardens, and classroom crunch-o-meters. Teachers will connect food and nutrition to all kinds of classroom curricula – from science to art.
The Illinois Farm to School Network (IFSN) is an affiliate of the National Farm to School Program. IFSN supports schools with local food procurement,, school gardens, school wellness programs and healthy eating education. IFSN is facilitated by Seven Generations Ahead (SGA), a Chicago Metro area-based non-profit organization committed to its mission of promoting environmentally sustainable and healthy communities. SGA’s Fresh from the Farm program has brought local food, school gardens and healthy eating curricula to schools across Illinois and the Midwest since 2004.
The Great Apple Crunch Webinar, Illinois School Board of Education endorsement letter, and logo can be found here.