In partnership with the AmeriCorps Farm to School Program, Fort HealthCare invites schools and the community to participate in the Great Lakes Apple Crunch Event during the month of October, coinciding with National Farm to School Month. National Farm to School Month is when we recognize and celebrate the connection our communities have with fresh, healthy food, and local food producers – particularly educating school-aged children about the health benefits of eating local food.

greatlakes-greatapplecrunch-logoSpecifically, the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch event is a specific moment in time – noon – on October 13th when all participants get together with their teams or local groups and take a bite of a locally grown apple at the same time. The event is symbolic of joining healthy eating (biting the apple) with community action (collective crunching).

To join in the celebration, individuals and groups are invited to document their Crunch plans at, gather for a photo taking a bite out of an apple at the same time, share the photo via social media using #GreatAppleCrunch16 and #HealthiestHereWeCome, and tag Fort HealthCare, local farms, and other participating organizations in their posts. The magnitude of The Crunch will be shared with other Farm to School organizations in the state of Wisconsin and even the nation.

Alicia Brunk, the 2016-17 AmeriCorps Farm to School Program Nutrition Educator for Jefferson County, is connecting with several area schools to join in on the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch event throughout the month of October. Her work is part of the Eat Here Eat Well-Jefferson County Farm to School initiatives and is supported by Wisconsin’s Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) 2 and Fort HealthCare. Brunk can be reached via email at for nutrition lessons and local food connections.

The UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems helps organize the registrations for Crunch activities happening in Wisconsin with partners in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio. All schools and organizations participating in the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch will receive an event guide with tips on finding local apples, integrating The Crunch into school curricula, and sharing activities on social media. If your school or organization plans to Crunch, share it at Visit and to learn more.

National Farm to School Month was designated by Congress in 2010 to demonstrate the growing importance of farm to school programs as a means to improve child nutrition, support local economies, and educate children about the origins of food. The 2016 National Farm to School Month theme is “One Small Step,” highlighting the simple ways that anyone – from students, parents, food enthusiasts, food producers, and nutrition professionals – can take small steps to get informed, get involved and take action to advance farm to school initiatives in their own communities. The campaign encourages social media users to share their campaign content using the hashtags #F2SMonth and #farmtoschool. To learn more, visit

School Gardens

Fort HealthCare is proud to support our local Healthy Community Coalitions and their efforts to make locally grown food more available to residents in our region. Much of the current work being done in this area is through local school gardens. Studies show that when students know the vegetables being served in school cafeteria are locally grown and they see a picture of the farmers who grew them (or helped harvest them themselves from the school’s garden), their attitudes and behaviors regarding healthy eating and nutrition can improve.

Several schools in our region have developed after school garden clubs that provide an opportunity for both students and their parents to participate. Some of the schools were able to donate over 1,000 pounds of produce to their local food pantry, sharing the benefit of fresh food and healthier eating with more residents in our community. Visit to learn more.

Fort HealthCare is committed to improving the health and well-being of our communities, with a vision to be the healthiest community in Wisconsin. As the leading healthcare provider in the region, it is our goal to reach as many members of the community as possible with health and wellness messages, providing tools and resources to help individuals improve their health and quality of life, while collaborating with several partners to positively improve the population’s health overall on a long term basis. For more information, visit