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2024 Great Big Crunch Wrap Up

Tastebuds’ Great Big Crunch is a special day of food education. Students and community members across Hamilton take a synchronized crunch into an apple while learning about healthy eating and local food. The Crunch has been going on since 2008 


It is a simple concept: each school stocks up on local apples and assembles their crunchers together in classrooms, gymnasiums or hallways. Each cruncher is handed an apple and after a countdown, bites into the apple simultaneously, making a great big “crunch!” Whether the school or student nutrition program participates in activities or just one great big crunch, students get to celebrate healthy, local food with their community.  


This year, 54,000 students and community members participated in the Great Big Crunch at 112 locations across Hamilton. This remarkable achievement marks a record level of participation since the event's inception a decade ago. The Great Big Crunch is open to every school in the city of Hamilton, whether it has a Tastebuds program or not. This initiative is more than just an event; it's a celebration of healthy eating, local agriculture, and the spirit of our community.  


The apples were being generously donated by FirstOntario Credit Union and The Ontario Produce Marketing Association (OPMA) and provided from Drummond Farms in Waterdown (69 Concession 5 East, L0R 2H1), which produces an average of 2 million pounds of apples a year! 

Canada is the only G7 nation not to have a National School Food Program. Tastebuds is a member of the Coalition for Healthy School Food which is advocating for a national program with federal government funding that will ensure all school aged children and youth in Canada can enjoy a tasty and nutrition meal in their school every day! Tastebuds receives funds from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, but only a portion of the food costs are covered. Community donations are critical for program stability.  

Hamilton City Councillors and school board Trustees visit schools in their wards participating in the Great Big Crunch. This year we created an apple toss video with some of our partners.

About Tastebuds: Every school day, Tastebuds student nutrition programs across Hamilton serves nutritious meals and snacks at schools and community sites in 125 programs at 111 locations. These programs benefit children, youth, families and neighbourhoods. Tastebuds programs are universal. That means that ALL students are welcome to participate, regardless of their economic backgrounds. Here in Hamilton over 20,000 students access our nutrition programs, on average every school day.  


Did you know, next to you, schools have the most impact on shaping children’s eating habits? Or that, children spend as much time at school as they spend in any other environment? Research has found a strong relationship between nutrition and learning. Students who have access to a nutrition program in their school or community perform better in the classroom. The energy provided by a nutritious meal keeps children alert and able to learn, increases attention spans, and decreases disruptive behaviours. Nutrition programs also provide students with the chance to develop healthy eating habits that will stay with them in the years to come.


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