Students Celebrate National Farm to School Month with a Crunch

Students Celebrate National Farm to School Month with a Crunch
Posted on 11/09/2022
Students Celebrate National Farm to School Month with a Crunch

Students at three Lee County Schools celebrated National Farm to School Month by participating in the annual Florida Crunch. First, they learned about Florida agriculture and the benefits of consuming local fruits and vegetables. Then they simultaneously taste tested Florida-grown Carambola (Starfruit) during the big “1, 2, 3, CRUNCH!” at lunch.

“Our goal is to expose as many students as we can to fresh produce grown right in their home state,” said Amy Carroll, Registered Dietitian and Coordinator of Special Projects for Food & Nutrition Services. “Participating in Florida Crunch events allow us to utilize the cafeteria as a place of nutrition education in our effort to cultivate smarter lunchrooms.”

The Florida Crunch is held in partnership with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), Family Nutrition Program (FNP), and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). The three schools participating this year were G. Weaver Hipps Elementary, Tice Elementary and Franklin Park Elementary.

UF/IFAS Extension FNP has delivered nutrition education to students at all three schools, teaching youth how to eat healthy following the principles of USDA’s MyPlate. UF/IFAS Extension FNP has also supported each school to develop and sustain edible gardens, a core component of Farm to School. The Florida Crunch reinforces these activities by throwing a party in the cafeteria to expose children to a new produce item, encouraging them to make half their plate fruits and vegetables.

“The Florida Crunch has become over the years a great opportunity to make eating locally grown fruits and vegetables fun and enjoyable for students,” said Kathleen Morales Perez, Public Health Specialist with UF/IFAS Extension FNP. “Exposing children to positive nutrition experiences such as tasting events contributes to the development of healthy eating patterns that impact their health outcomes. The Crunch is a celebration of Florida agriculture, nutrition, and education!”.

National Farm to School Month occurs each October to highlight the importance of farm to school programs such as school gardens, nutrition education, and the sourcing of local products for school lunches. These programs help to improve child nutrition, support local economies, and educate children about the origins of their food.

For more information and resources on National Farm to School Month, visit