by Heather Wilberforce
Have you heard of the Great Big Crunch? It’s a national movement and annual moment of anti-silence in which students, teachers, parents and others passionate about healthy food join the food movement, crunching into apples (or other crunchy fruit or vegetable) to make a big noise for healthy school food! 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.
Since 2008, over 1 million people have joined in the fun and engaging learning opportunity. This year most classes celebrated the Great Big Crunch on March 11. Some classes used apples to discuss life cycles and parts of a fruit, while others read about the history of apples in Canada, or about related jobs along the food supply chain and some planted apple seeds and made apple sauce! Some classes even made connections to topics around food miles, local food and food security, while others looked at migrant farm labour in Canada and issues of equity and lack thereof in the food system.
The Great Big Crunch is an opportunity to support healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime, and make sure that learning is supported by access to good food.
This year, the event was initiated locally in Cabbagetown at our own Sprucecourt School by a teacher candidate working in a Grade 4/5 classroom. The kids sat in a large distanced circle in the school yard where they all crunched down on their apples at the appointed time of 2:30, making them part of The Great Big Crunch 2021.
When they finished crunching, they fed their apple cores to the compost (video below), which provides nutrients for the school food garden.
Green Thumbs Growing Kids supplied Ontario-grown apples, highlighting locally grown healthy school food! Next year Green Thumbs hopes to have more local classrooms join in the Great Big Crunch.
Green Thumbs Growing Kids (GTGK) is a local charity actively creating and managing school food gardens in order to connect children to food and their environment. Gardens at Sprucecourt Jr. PS, Winchester Jr. & Sr. PS and Rose Avenue PS are managed by Green Thumbs, along with a City of Toronto greenhouse in Regent Park. No funding is received from the Toronto District School Board so GTGK depends on support from members of the community and friends of the gardens.