120,965 crunching in the Southwest Region’s Ontario Student Nutrition Program “Great Big Crunch”

Partner post by Amberley Ruetz, Resource Development Coordinator for the Ontario Student Nutrition Program – Southwest Region

Today, over 120,000 people across Southwestern Ontario will take a bite into health during the Ontario Student Nutrition Program-Southwest Region’s Great Big Crunch. This fun event brings together students, school board officials and local leaders across Southwestern Ontario to take a simultaneous bite into an apple to encourage children to increase their consumption of nutritious fruits and vegetables. The purpose of the event is to build awareness, support and much needed resources/volunteers for student nutrition programs. Great Big Crunch celebrations range from small gatherings in classrooms to whole school congregations in gymnasiums to partake in fun activities such as apple bobbing, making apple-themed crafts, listening to apple stories, and more!

Happening in the fall at the height of apple season, the Great Big Crunch highlights the availability of local produce to students that showcases the bounty of delicious fruits and vegetables available in our backyards. Last year over $22,000 of local apples were purchased which supported 20 local apple growers and producers across Southwestern Ontario. 

Danielle Findlay, Program Coordinator for Windsor-Essex’s Ontario Student Nutrition Program reported “The Great Big Crunch is gaining in popularity every year. The event gets kids excited about healthy eating, local food systems and is a creative way for us to collectively ‘Say Yes to Good Food in Schools.’" Click here to learn more about OSNP’s "Say Yes to Good Food in Schools" Campaign. 

Nine workplaces across Southwestern Ontario are also crunching to show their support for healthy eating encouraged by student nutrition programs. Three health units (Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, Oxford County Health Unit, and the Chatham-Kent Health Unit), three schools boards (Lambton Kent District School Board, St Clair Catholic School Board, and the Bruce Grey Catholic School Board) as well as the Town of Tecumseh, the Windsor’s Victorian Order of Nurses and Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare will also host their own crunches. In total, 120,965 people across Southwestern Ontario will participate, making it OSNP’s biggest Great Big Crunch ever!

Participants are encouraged to share photos of their crunch through social media by using the hashtags #GreatBigCrunch #SayYestoGoodFoodinSchools #StudentNutrition and tagging @OSNPsouthwest

Students involved in school nutrition programs: 

  • are more likely to try new fruits and vegetables;
  • are more likely to develop good nutrition habits; 
  • are less likely to be absent or late for school; 
  • are more likely to demonstrate positive behaviours in the classroom; and
  • are able to concentrate better, and retain and apply information more effectively.

The Ontario Student Nutrition Program - Southwest Region (OSNP-SW) supports 97,836 students in 489 schools across Southwestern Ontario. Last year (2015/16), OSNP-SW provided 15,776,562 healthy meals and snacks to ensure that all students are well nourished and ready to learn. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @OSNPsouthwest or visit us online at www.osnp.ca.

For more information about OSNP-SW’s Great Big Crunch, please contact Amberley Ruetz.

About the author


Amberley Ruetz works for the Ontario Student Nutrition Program - Southwest Region which provides healthy breakfast and snacks to kids across Southwestern Ontario so all children and well nourished and ready to learn. As a Masters of Globalization and the Human Condition graduate and SSHRC recipient, Amberley is passionate about the impact local food and sustainable food systems can have on job creation, local economic development and the reduction of food waste. You can connect with Amberley on Linkedin, on Twitter (@amberleyruetz) or via email at Amberley.Ruetz@osnp.ca