National event shows support for a universal school food program.
Sarah Mullen, Kings County Community Food Council
On March 10, a resounding ‘crunch’ was heard throughout the Valley. Over 3500 hundred students across the Valley made some noise by participating in the GREAT BIG CRUNCH (GBC) and biting into crunchy (and local) apples, to show support for a healthy, universal, cost-shared school food program.
The GBC is a national event to draw attention to the fact that Canada is the only G7 country without a national school food program. This annual moment of anti-silence invites students, teachers, parents, and others passionate about food to crunch into apples to make noise for healthy school food. The event is organized by the national Coalition for Healthy School Food (healthyschoolfood.ca), a non-profit advocating for public investment in a universal school food program.
A universal school food program would mean that all students could access a meal at school, which we know is important to overall physical and mental health, as well as success in learning. A national program could contribute to our communities in so many ways—imagine schools supporting local farmers by buying local produce to serve in salad bars at affordable prices, with opportunities for students to grow and prepare some of the food they’ll get to eat for lunch. Priceless!
The organization of the GBC across the Valley was certainly a community and collaborative effort. The Kings County Community Food Council, the Community Health Boards in West Hants, Kings, and Annapolis County, Scotian Gold, the Farm-to-School Snack Program, and of course the 12+ schools that participated, all contributed to promoting the event, getting apples to the participating schools, and getting local politicians involved. Recently, two local municipalities even signed on as official endorsers of the Coalition for Healthy School Food: the Town of Annapolis Royal and the Town of Berwick added their voices to over 180 non-profits and government bodies across the country that endorse the guiding principles of the Coalition for Healthy School Food.
Congratulations to everyone who participated. What a tasty way to raise your voice for school food!
Sarah Mullen is a Public Health Nutritionist and member of the Kings County Community Food Council. The Council’s vision is to have a sustainable, local food system in Kings County, where everyone has access to enough nutritious, safe, ecological, and culturally-appropriate food. For more information on our work and how you can get involved please contact us! info@KCCFoodCouncil.ca.