By Abby Harper, Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems
Congrats, Michiganders! Your support for Michigan agriculture sounded loud, crisp, and delicious!
On Thursday, October 22, 2015, Michiganders demonstrated their support for Michigan agriculture by participating in the Michigan Apple Crunch. This one-day collective effort encouraged everyone to CRUNCH into a Michigan grown apple at 12:00pm to show support for Michigan farmers and celebrate good food. Schools, early childhood programs and businesses that signed up through Cherry Capital Foods received information and helpful tools to help support their crunches, including links to Michigan Farm to School resources and Cultivate Michigan apple materials.
The Apple Crunch is one way to celebrate National Farm to School Month. The month of October is dedicated to celebrating local food partnerships between schools, farms and food vendors. All month long, schools and early childhood programs from all 50 states have been showcasing their work to increase kids’ access to healthy, local foods.
To the best of our knowledge, the first Crunch that occurred in Michigan took place in Whitehall and Montague School Districts in 2011, led by their food service director Dan Gorman. In that first year, over 9,000 students crunched into an apple at the same time. The 2015 Michigan Apple Crunch marked the third year of a statewide effort, with over 220 schools, early childhood programs, businesses, workplaces hospitals, and colleges participating. Almost 280,000 individuals crunched into Michigan apples in Detroit, Cheboygan, Traverse City, Marquette, Drummond Island, and everywhere in between. The Michigan Apple Crunch was also a part of the regional Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch, with nearly 600,000 individuals participating across the region, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.
Photo provided courtesy of David Rose, the Director of Dining Services at Mattawan Consolidated School, featuring special guest Theodore Eat who distributed apples to students and staff.