The Midwest Apple Crunch is near

It’s nearly time for the 2016 Midwest Great Apple Crunch on Oct. 13, during National Farm to School Month. At noon, students in schools across the region will crunch into apples all at the same time, getting everyone together in an event that encourages healthy eating, supports farm to school, and promotes local food procurement. Don’t worry, if noon on the 13th doesn’t fit into your school’s lunch plans or day, we encourage you to do it any time during the month of October. If your school is crunching, be sure to SIGN UP to be counted and receive a free Crunch Guide with steps for a successful crunch event!

Here are some highlights from the Crunch signups across the Midwest.

Students across Nebraska have signed up to crunch in schools like Malcolm and Thayer Central. Omaha Public Schools is spearheading a crunch involving over 50,000 students. In addition, 3,000 students have signed up to crunch in Midwest schools like Clear Creek Schools in Amana, Iowa, and Missouri Baptist Sunrise School in DeSoto, Mo.

In Lincoln, Neb., where 976 students will be crunching (so far), apples from Bellevue, Neb., will be featured in Lincoln Public Schools. Those students will have a chance to crunch at lunch and in the classroom on Oct. 13. According to Jessie Coffey, nutrition and special diet specialist, this is the first year the school district is crunching. They will also highlight their Farm to School Month activities on a new blog. Faith Lutheran School of Lincoln will join in the Midwest Crunch as well.

At Norris School District in Firth, Neb., Jane Hansmeyer, family and consumer science teacher and Rural Nebraska on the Move project director, is leading the school district’s crunch. All 2,300 students will take part on Oct. 13. Each of the four buildings on their campus will crunch at a certain time of day, and several different varieties of apples will be prepared in unique ways at breakfast and lunch times. Norris School District will send out its drone to capture photos of the students and share with the community.   

If you’re still looking for ideas on how the Midwest Great Apple Crunch might work at your school, I encourage you to visit our Farm to School Month page. You’ll find resources, links to our Facebook page, a video to use on your Crunch day, and a webinar with examples from Iowa and Nebraska schools showing how Farm to School Month and Apple Crunch looks in different school settings. And, the Center for Rural Affairs will issue a Crunch-related challenge next week, so make sure you check out our social media accounts, and be prepared to take action.

In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to your farm to school state lead, or contact me, Sandra Renner, Midwest Region Lead, at, and I am happy to connect you. In addition, you can connect to farm to school resources at your state agencies.