by Malcolm Jolley
On the afternoon of March 10, more than 100,000 Canadian school children enjoyed one of the great, simple pleasures of life: they bit into an apple. The Big Crunch was organised by the innovative Toronto-based non-profit group FoodShare, with support from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario’s Spark Initiative and the Ontario Government.
Begun in 2008, The Big Crunch was conceived as a fun way to engage school kids with fresh, wholesome food or to encourage, in the lingo of food activists, “Food Literacy”. In Ontario, an official Big Crunch event was held at Thorncliffe Park Public Elementary School, where a Landmark Universal Nutrition Program has been put into place. Leading the pack of crunchers was FoodShare’s Student Nutrition and School Program Senior Manager, Meredith Hayes who was joined by stakeholders like The Heart and Stroke Spark Initiative’s Sharon Brodovsky as well as the Hon. Laurel Broten, Minister of Children and Youth Services, the Hon. Carol Mitchell Minister of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, Don Werden of Norfolk Fruit Growers’ Association (who supplied the apples) and Toronto District School Board Trustee Howard Goodman.
By all reports, the crunch was big. Hayes explained the importance of the program: “Great Big Crunch proves that children enjoy and want to learn about healthy food. Nothing is more “a-peeling”: the spray of fresh apple juice, the loudest crunch you can imagine, the goofy smiles and antics as fresh Ontario apples are devoured. It’s totally empowering and just something you have to experience.”
Find out more about this at foodshare.net/school-crunch.htm