Farm to school activities support local agriculture, while also providing nutrition and agriculture education. Special events, like Apple Crunch days, offer an opportunity for students to learn about local produce in a fun, engaging way with their friends and school communities. Typically, Apple Crunch events happen during the school day and involve field trips, taste tests, and biting into local apples. Since many schools are operating virtually, due to the pandemic, and meal programs continue to run as grab-and-go operations, Apple Crunch days needed to be presented in a different format.
With many students attending school virtually or through hybrid options, traditional school meals, and farm to school food efforts, have been turned upside down. In response, school districts, state agencies, and non-profits shifted Apple Crunch and other harvest celebrations to virtual events. This included field trips via livestreams, social media campaigns, taste test videos, and of course, eating local produce.
While there is nothing like going to an orchard or crunching into an apple with your friends, virtual Apple Crunch campaigns allowed more students and communities to get involved. Using the virtual platform, some groups have been able to engage high level partners, such as state commissioners of agriculture, making opportunities available to a greater number of students.