GET READY! Great Big Crunch Day-March 7th

The Great Big Crunch is a special day of good food education on March 7, ending with a massive, synchronized bite into a crunchy fruit or vegetable.

New for 2013! This year, due to Ontario’s devastating shortage of apples, The Great Big Crunch will be extended to include all locally grown, crunchy fruits or vegetables. Now you and your students can choose what to crunch on March 7th!


The 2013 Great Big Crunch is Thursday, March 7 at 2:30pm E.S.T – but you can crunch anytime! Don’t forget to register with us; we want to count your crunches towards the grand total no matter when you do it or what you crunch.


In classrooms, gymnasiums, recreational facilities, homes, work places and communities across Canada, online…and beyond!

Why:Crunch time

  • To promote, celebrate and enjoy healthy snacking
  • To highlight availability of local produce all year round
  • To use fruits and vegetables as the centerpiece for activities on cooking and tasting, nutrition, soil and composting, sustainability, community development and more!
  • To celebrate Nutrition Month!

Who can participate?

Students, teachers and individuals across the country interested in learning more about locally grown fruits and vegetables and participating in a cross Canada salute to healthy and local eating.

How to participate:

Download the 2013 Registration Form Here

Download the 2013 Registration Form IN FRENCH Here

Once you’ve registered with us,

  • Download FoodShare’s Great Big Crunch classroom activities, or develop your own.
  • Spread the word by emailing your friends, colleagues and networks, or use Facebook or Twitter (#greatbigcrunch) to gain momentum for the event.
  • Purchase locally grown fruits or vegetables (or both!) for the Great Big Crunch from your local green grocer, farmer’s market or supermarket.
  • At 2:30pm E.S.T on Thursday, March 7 2013, run the Great Big Crunch in your school or classroom and enhance your students’ understanding of our food system while having fun at the same time!
  • Share, share, share! You could see your Great Big Crunch photos, activities or stories on our website by emailing them In your email, please indicate that you’ve read and agree with the conditions outlined in our FoodShare Media Release Form.
  • Join us on Twitter and send us a picture of your Crunch Face via Twitter @FoodShareTO #greatbigcrunch or post it to our Facebook page here


Educator Resources:

Click here for the new 2013 Great Big Crunch Activities

Click here to access even more Great Big Crunch Activities and Resources!

Over 500 PSD students involved in the Produce Passport Project with Save-On-Foods

As Parkland School Division gears up for nutrition month in March, three schools will be participating in some fun taste-testing of fruits and vegetables each week thanks to Save-On-Foods, Servus Credit Union, and PHE Canada.  These organizations have each played an important role in sponsoring the project for Wabamun, Parkland Village, and Millgrove students.  Wabamun Health Champion Teryl Pidhaichuk shared that week one of the program was a huge success and students throughout the school enjoyed fresh pineapple, “I couldn’t believe how excited all of the students were when they saw the passports and the pineapple coming into their classes.”

At Parkland Village, Health Champion Jackie Fitzgerald shared that one student said, “I’ve never had pineapple,” before tasting it.  After the student tried the fruit, he exclaimed “Oh, wait…I have tasted this on pizza before.”

Research indicates that many of our children are not accessing an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables each day.  This program uses positive peer pressure and a passport to encourage students to take their learning home with them.  If the students eat any of the fruits or vegetables inside of the passport at home, they can take the sticker from the produce item and place it into their passport.  The project is being shared with students in Grades K-9 and will run for 12 weeks.

“The best part of the first week is that we had extra pineapples and were able to raffle them off to each class as a take-home prize for participating,” said Jackie Fitzgerald

Thank you to Spruce Grove Save-On-Foods for sponsoring the student passports and preparing the fruit boxes required to feed over 500 students each week.

Servus Credit Union and PHE Canada have each donated $1000 to schools to purchase the produce for this project.

Addictions and Mental Health Resources

Today’s Divisional Health Champion meeting covered the diverse ways that we can include positive mental health into the culture and climate of our school environments. Thank you to Alberta Health Services’ Leslie Webb, Matthew Mitschke, and Judy Newman for sharing some of great Alberta Health Services resources that are available to teachers and schools.

Click here for additional resources and teaching and learning supports.


Winter Walk Day at High Park

To celebrate Winter Walk Day, High Park School’s Health Champion, Elizabeth Paterson-Baron, organized an all-school walk which included 460 students, 25 staff members, and about 10 parents. The school leadership team made posters and placed them around the school in addition to making daily announcements leading up to the event highlighting the importance of daily physical activity. The event was publicized in the school newsletter and web site.
Each student participant received an orange mitten from SHAPE Alberta to unite the walkers with students and schools from around the province who walked for 15 minutes or more on February 6th, 2013. At High Park School, their health and wellness action plan includes all school participation in physical activity three times per week. The Winter Walk Day was one of their awesome events! Way to go, team.

Healthy Fundraising Idea from Seba Beach

Health Champion and teacher Stephanie Wong has put her Grade 9 students to work in order to finance their end of the year trip to Jasper National Park.  Through the committed action of the Grade 9 students, around 60 healthy smoothy drinks await students twice each week when they get to their desks. “The students blend up the ingredients and then label the lid with the students’ names,” says Stephanie.  Grade 9 students who come early get to blend up and put together the drinks for all students who order the breakfast treat through their hot lunch forms.  The Grade 9 students who come in late are in charge of dishes and clean-up.  Students report that the smoothies are especially exciting to the kids in elementary school who look forward to receiving a visit from junior high students in the morning.  All in all, the nutrition project brings in a good chunk of change and starts the school day off with a healthy breakfast filled with three of the four food groups.

Family Literacy Day Promotes Health at Tomahawk School

Family Literacy Day was celebrated on January 27th, 2013at Tomahawk School through a wide-range of activities including peer reading, reading challenges, and even guest readers from the community including the RCMP and PSD Division Board Member Ron Heinrichs.  Led by librarian Marieann Jouan and junior high teacher Lindsay Bieda, students were given time to share in a love of reading with one another.  

According to Burt Perrin, consultant with Health Canada, literacy is linked to health…

“Literacy is more than the ability to decode words. Indeed, as the summary to the Second Report
of the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS): Literacy Skills for the Knowledge Society(1)
indicates: “Literacy means more than knowing how to read, write or calculate. It involves
understanding and being able to use the information required to function effectively.”

This has some important implications:
· Literacy is a moving target. As the Second IALS Report indicates: “While most people
can read, the real question is whether their reading and writing skills meet the challenge
of living and working in today’s . . . society.” As the demands of society change, so do
the necessary literacy skills required to function.
· Literacy involves comprehension and understanding — not only of the written word, but
also of the spoken word. Literacy, for example, is a key factor in the ability to understand
and to be able to act upon verbal directions from health professionals, e.g. doctors,
pharmacists, physiotherapists and others.
· Literacy skills enhance flexibility. They enable people to deal with change and with
unfamiliar contexts.
As research indicates, these factors are all closely related to health.”

The PSD Resiliency Project appreciates the many ways that our schools celebrated Family Literacy Day in order to help students and families understand how reading and writing are self-protection protection that offset health challenges connected to illiteracy.