Nearly 300,000 Canadians Take a Great Big Crunch for Healthy Food for Kids


On March 9 (and March 16 in Quebec) 282,482 kids, teachers, parents and politicians from across the country bit into apples in unison in a Great Big Crunch to make a lot of noise for children’s nutrition. 2017 marked the 10th anniversary of FoodShare Toronto’s loud campaign that has engaged over one million crunchers to say loud and clear that access to healthy food for kids must be a top priority.

The Great Big Crunch on Parliament Hill

This year, for the second time, Food Secure Canada and the Coalition for Healthy School Food organized a Great Big Crunch on Parliament Hill, sponsored by MP Jean-Claude Poissant, to bring this message to the federal government. At our briefing on the state of school food in Canada, Parliamentarians of all stripes, as well as their staff and policy advisors, learned that Canada is one of the only industrialized countries without a national school food program and about the importance of increased government investment.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Jean Claude Poissant:

Alejandra Dubois of the University of Ottawa spoke to the evidence that schools are among the best environments in which to instill children with healthy eating behaviours and that school food programs can have positive impacts on children’s physical and mental health, as well as on their educational outcomes. Margo Riebe-Butt of Nourish Nova Scotia spoke to the benefits she sees on the ground and to the need for a national program.

After the briefing, more MPs joined the Coalition for Healthy School Food and dozens of Ottawa kindergarteners for a Great Big Crunch on the Parliament steps, with apples generously donated by Algoma Orchards. Cameras from CBC, CTV and Global shot footage of our federal politicians with the next generation of healthy Canadians for the evening news, while Coalition members spread the word on school food.

Not to leave any stones unturned, we headed into Parliament, where apple-pin toting MPs were given one last chance to crunch and learn about school food before they entered Question Period.

Coalition for Healthy School Food Coordinator Sasha McNicoll with Minister of Veterans Affairs Kent Hehr:

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay:

Health minister Jane Philpott:

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau:

The hashtag #GreatBigCrunch trended at #1 on Twitter for several hours that day, thanks in part to participation from Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Health Minister Jane Philpott and Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay.

Check out the Coalition for Healthy School Food on CTV Live!

The Great Big Crunch Makes Waves in Quebec

As many schools in Quebec were on spring break on March 9, the Coalition for Healthy School Food brought The Great Big Crunch (or La Grande croquée) to Quebec kids one week later on March 16. While a handful of schools participated in 2016, well over 2,000 children from across the province Crunched this year, while learning all about the importance of healthy food.


Coalition for Healthy School Food member Équiterre organized six events in Montreal and brought a focus on organic apples, teaching kids about why food should be both healthy and sustainable.

Perhaps the strangest Crunch of the year, however, came from Puvirnituq in Northern Quebec, where, because of the lack of local apples, students were brought on a fishing trip to crunch into freshly caught fish!

See more Great Big Crunches below: