From the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets:
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball Thursday Oct. 20 joined the 2016 Big Apple Crunch in New York City, sponsored by the FarmOn! Foundation, an agriculture-focused non-profit supporting educational youth programming.
The Big Apple Crunch is an annual event that celebrates New York state agriculture and promotes New York’s apple producers through food and nutrition education across the State.
Ball, joined by the commissioner of the state Department of Health and representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, FarmOn! Foundation and New York City SchoolFood, helped lead dozens of middle school students and staff from Public School 96 in taking a bite out of a New York state grown apple.
The “crunch” followed an announcement of the expansion of the NY Thursdays program in schools across New York City. NY Thursdays kicked off last year and features locally grown and produced foods on school menus. This year, the program has expanded to include New York State produced beef.
In addition to the event held at PS 96, dozens of Big Apple Crunch events were held throughout New York City and across the state. The New York Apple Association joined the NYC Food Policy Center at Hunter College for a Big Apple Crunch at La Marqueta.
The event brought together hundreds of children to take part in fun and educational activities, and wrapped up with a record-breaking Big Apple Crunch. The event also featured activity centers with apple art, games, tastings and nutrition education led by East Harlem organizations and small businesses.
In Albany, the state Education Department Senior Deputy Commissioner Jhone Ebert and Assistant Commissioner for Student Support Services Renee Rider joined more than 50 staff members from the department's Office of Child Nutrition on the front steps of the State Education Building this morning for the Big Apple Crunch.
They got into the spirit, simultaneously biting into locally grown, New York state apples to celebrate National Food Day and promote New York state food and farms.
Created through a partnership of GrowNYC and the NYC Office of Food Policy in 2012 and sponsored by the FarmOn! Foundation, the Big Apple Crunch originated as a way to celebrate National Food Day.
In the first year of the event, about 400,000 New Yorkers bit into locally grown New York State apples at the same time in a universal call to action to raise awareness about supporting local agriculture.
Since its inception, the annual Big Apple Crunch has expanded its reach, breaking a world record in 2015 with one million New Yorkers participating in the crunch.
For additional incentive to support the cause, crunchers who submit a #BigAppleCrunchChallenge video on social media can win $1,000 towards a FarmOn! Victory Garden, which will help bring fresh produce and educational opportunities to a school of their choosing.