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Registration open for eighth annual Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch

Looking for a fun way to support Wisconsin farmers and the state’s farm to institution activities? If yes, sign up for the eighth annual Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch.

The event, which takes place at noon on Thursday, Oct. 14 this year, involves hundreds of thousands of “crunchers” at schools, early care sites, colleges and hospitals across Wisconsin and the region all biting into locally-grown apples at the same time to create the “crunch heard around the region.”

It’s simple and easy to participate. Register at www.cias.wisc.edu/applecrunch, purchase local apples, and make your crunch plans for Oct. 14. Participants are encouraged to take photos of their crunch and share them on social media and with their school and community.

The first crunch event took place in October 2014, and was started as a program to encourage K-12 schools and other institutions to purchase more local foods. Since then, it has expanded to include all interested parties, including groups and individuals crunching from the office or at home.

A photo from the 2019 crunch held at Door Creek Orchard in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin. Photo provided by UW–Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems.

After registering, participants receive a copy of the program’s “crunch guide” with tools to find Wisconsin apple growers, tasty apple recipes, and social media tips. For teachers, the guide also includes student lesson plans listed by age group.

“Every year it’s so fun to watch food service staff around the state discover how easy and exciting it is to purchase local apples, and how much kids and adults love eating them in the cafeteria,” says Vanessa Herald, farm to institution outreach specialist at the UW–Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems. “We’re thrilled this event can promote farm to school and encourage folks to try buying more Wisconsin-grown foods.”

The Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch is a project of the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS) at UW–Madison. For more information, visit www.cias.wisc.edu/applecrunch or connect on Facebook (@GreatLakesGreatAppleCrunch), Twitter (@gr8applecrunch) or Instagram (@GreatAppleCrunch). Apple growers interested in farm to institution opportunities are encouraged to visit https://cias.wisc.edu/applecrunch/.

For more information, contact Vanessa Herald at vherald@wisc.edu or (608) 263-6064.