“Montana Crunch Time” October 24th — Promoting Farm to School Month
HELENA— On Thursday, October 24th, schools across Montana will be participating in Montana Crunch Time, a celebration of local food and National Farm to School Month. Montana Crunch Time encourages people to eat locally and regionally grown apples at a predetermined date and time.
The Montana Office of Public Instruction School Nutrition Programs is pleased to support this effort to encourage healthy eating habits for students in our state by offering Montana-grown apples to schools participating in the USDA DoD Fresh program. USDA DoD Fresh is one choice in the request-driven system to help school districts utilize USDA Foods assistance effectively.
In the coming weeks, apples from Swanson’s Mountain View Orchards in Corvallis, Montana will be available to participating schools across our State. Julie Swanson, a native of Glasgow and former K-12 librarian, is enthusiastic about collaborating with the OPI School Nutrition Programs on this project as a way of distributing produce to destinations that would otherwise be problematic to reach. “I love apples, and I love kids, and I am so excited about this opportunity for our product to reach Montana schools of all sizes and locations!”
Grasmick Produce is the USDA vendor partner responsible for sourcing and distributing the apples from Swanson’s Orchards to schools. Purchasing from smaller-scale growers presents challenges for procurement, but in this case flexibility and a desire to work together paid off. Angie Grasmick-Reed is President of the business her great-grandfather started in 1955. “Our company has been family-owned and operated for over 60 years; we welcome this opportunity to work with growers like Swanson Orchards that share our values of honesty, integrity, and hard work.”
Montana Farm to School Coordinator Aubree Roth said last year, more than 35,000 children and adults across the state participated in Montana Crunch Time, up from 11,000 participants in 2013. The event is hosted by Montana Team Nutrition at MSU in collaboration with several partners.
This year, several states throughout the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains regions, including Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming, are competing to see which state has the highest level of participation. The state with the most logged apple crunches, per capita, will win.
Organizations planning to crunch an apple at the designated time are encouraged to register their participation at montana.edu/mtfarmtoschool/mt-crunch-time.html.
CONTACT: Christine Emerson
School Nutrition Director
Montana Office of Public Instruction