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Do you hear that? That’s the sound of over one million students, teachers, farmers, health care providers and more crunching into fresh apples grown across the six Great Lakes states. And those one million crunches make a lot of noise to support local farmers, build community and celebrate healthy eating.

In celebration of National Farm to School Month, schools, hospitals, colleges and other organizations crunched into locally grown apples for the Third Annual Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch held Thursday, Oct. 13. This regional event supports farm to cafeteria efforts across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, and provides a platform for schools, and others supporting healthy and regional foods, to promote and celebrate their good work through a fun event.

For this third year of the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch, over one million students, teachers and others across the region are registered. Events locations ranged from school cafeterias to public libraries, college dining halls to office break rooms. The collective crunch supports local apple orchards, celebrates healthy eating, and connects rural and urban communities.

A robust social media component helps amplify the Crunch across the region, too. Schools and other registered Crunchers documented their events through photo and video, shared through social media with the hashtags #GreatAppleCrunch and #F2SMonth. The Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch maintains a Facebook page where people will post Crunch celebrations. (www.facebook.com/GreatLakesGreatAppleCrunch).

The Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS) at UW-Madison is lead organizer for the event, collaborating with Extension, universities, nonprofits and state agencies throughout the region to organize and carry out the event. Not only is CIAS organizing the event, and crunching, but for the first year multiple UW-Madison entities registered to participate. UW Housing registered 7000 students to Crunch, and the Agroecology Program, Urban and Regional Planning department and CALS Academic Affairs offices all Crunched.

For more information about the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch, visit www.cias.wisc.edu/applecrunch orwww.facebook.com/GreatLakesGreatAppleCrunch.

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