by Julia Barbe and Lianna Pham, placement students from Child and Youth Care program of George Brown College
The Great Big Crunch at Sprucecourt PS! March 9, 2023
At Green Thumbs Growing Kids, we are crunching for healthy school food! This year our team hosted another Great Big Crunch event at Sprucecourt Junior Public School. The Great Big Crunch is an annual moment of anti-silence where everyone gets together and bites into crunchy fresh local produce in unison. This year, local public health nurse Angelina Dean helped instigate the action, and teacher Georgina Wong did the heavy lifting of getting everyone to participate.
Every year since 2008, Canadians have participated in the synchronized crunch, an original initiative of FoodShare Toronto, and now adopted by the national Coalition for Healthy School Food. On March 9th, 2023 at 1:00PM, 350 students, with their teachers and other staff, gathered in their school garden to support the school food movement. Green Thumbs Growing Kids provided the school with Ontario-grown apples.
This year, 4 students from the school’s eco club (managed by teacher Georgina Wong) co-hosted the event along with Sunday Harrison, founder and executive director of Green Thumbs. The goal of the event was to raise awareness for the need for healthy snacks and meals at schools all across Canada. The Eco Club started a petition, collected signatures from students and wrote a letter to their Member of Parliament, in hopes that every student across Canada would have access to healthy free or low-cost meals at school.
At Green Thumbs, we support the Call to Action #62(i) from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, that calls on our government and educators to make age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandatory education requirement for K-12 students. During the Great Big Crunch event, the students were reminded about the land acknowledgment and learned the words “miishimaan and miishimaan atig” which mean “apple and apple tree” in the Anishinaabemowin language.
After crunching into their apples, the students from the eco club and some teachers collected the apple cores and seeds. A group of students had the opportunity to plant the apple seeds, while another group of students added their apple cores to the compost in addition to learning about composting in their school garden.
Having the opportunity to be a part of and share with children such an important movement such as the Great Big Crunch, is important to us as future Child and Youth Care workers. To advocate for children across Canada to be able to have healthy free or low-cost meals that some do not have the fortune of having.
Here's the flat of apple seeds just two weeks after planting! We might have that apple orchard that the Eco Club dreamed of, after all!