For decorative purposes.

Michigan Crunch Guide for K-12 Schools


August 7, 2023

What is the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch?

The Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch encourages healthy eating and supports farm to school and other local food purchasing initiatives throughout the region. It’s also a fun way to connect food and agriculture to classroom curricula – from science to art & more!

Join the Great Lakes states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio in celebrating National Farm to School Month ➚ by crunching into locally and regionally grown apples on an annually designated Crunch Day. Of course, if you are unable to participate on Crunch Day, we still encourage you to plan an Apple Crunch event anytime during October’s National Farm to School Month.

Participants of all ages are invited to crunch!

Please note: The PDF includes clickable links to additional online resources. Clickable links are blue and followed by a blue arrow (➚).

How to get started

Register Your Crunch!

The best first step is to make your Crunch count. Be sure to register your Great Apple Crunch at ➚

Assemble an Apple Crunch Planning Team

Invite teachers, food service staff, administrators, parents, and students to participate in the event planning process.

Find Your Apples

Review the "Find Your Local Apples" section for tips on finding local orchards to supply apples for your Crunch.

Choose Your Crunch Day Activities

In addition to your Great Apple Crunch at noon, plan fun and engaging educational activities, lessons, field trips, or farmer visits to celebrate Crunch Day!

Prepare Your Community for the Crunch

See "Promote Your Crunch" for tips to spread the word about your Crunch and build excitement, fundraise, or find volunteers for your event!

Amplify Your Crunch

Read "Share Your Story" and learn to amplify your Crunch through photos, social media, TV, newspaper, and radio!

Find Your Local Apples

Remember: The goal of the Crunch is to support our local farmers by purchasing the fruits of their labors! Always inquire about buying apples, but be open to donations if they are offered.

Cultivate Michigan Sourcing Guide

The best source for local apples! This guide includes a food hub and produce distributor directory, and apple sourcing information (description, pack size, item code) for numerous distributors and food hubs. ➚

Cultivate Michigan Apple Promotion Page

Includes various apple promotional materials for institutions sourcing Michigan apples, perfect for showing off your crunch related activities! ➚

Michigan 10 Cents Per Meal Program

Program to help increase school purchases of Michigan grown products. Includes resources for procurement. ➚

Michigan Apples Sourcing Guide

A guide to finding Michigan apples from the Michigan Apple Committee ➚

Michigan Farmers Market Association ➚

USDA On-Farm Market Directory ➚

Taste the Local Difference Find Food and Farms Tool ➚

Michigan Market Maker ➚

How to Purchase & Serve Local Apples

Visit the Farmers Market

Here you'll find the most apple varieties, meet your farmers, and hand pick the right-sized apples, while using your nutrition program dollars.

Use DoD Fresh

Purchase local apples for reimbursable meals through the USDA DoD Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. ➚ Look for items tagged 'local' in FFAVORS.

Buy From Local Orchards

Connect directly with apple growers! Ask about purchasing small apples, perfectly sized for younger students. Use the "Find Your Apples" section for orchards near you.

Access FFVP Snack Program Funds

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) participants can use grant funds to purchase Crunch day snacks! Apples purchased with FFVP funds must be offered during regular FFVP snack times. The official Crunch is at noon, but you can Crunch at any time, on any day in October.

Ask Your Current Vendors

Ask your school’s existing broadline or produce distributor to source farm-identified apples grown in Michigan.

Make it a Micro-Purchase!

The micro-purchase procurement method ➚ is perfect for Crunch purchases below $10,000.

Buy Apples from a Food Hub or Produce Aggregator

Check out the USDA Local Food Hub Directory ➚

Serve it in the Lunch Line or Salad Bar

Include apples in the school lunch line or salad bar for your event. School food service staff can always offer a local apple for the Crunch as part of the reimbursable meal.

Solicit Donations

Encourage community partners, PTA, & others to donate funds to purchase your Crunch apples. Reach out to a grocery store that sources local apples. They may be willing to provide you with local apples at a discount.

Offer Classroom Taste Tests & Other Clever Crunches

You can purchase local apples to Crunch outside a reimbursable meal! Just use school food service funds (Fund 50 in public schools), and promote the apples as “purchased by school food service like this: 'Apples for this Crunch provided by BLANK food service department'.

USDA's Procuring Local Food for Child Nutrition Programs

Use this guide to support your local purchasing efforts.
Click here to access the PDF ➚

Recipes for K-12 and More

Cultivate Michigan Recipe Book

This recipe guide for institutions features many Michigan products including apples! ➚

Apple Muffin Squares

An easy-to-make breakfast or lunch item featuring local apples! Try different apples varieties for flavor.
Recipe Here ➚

Cran-Apple Cornbread Muffins

Sweet and tart, with cheddar cheese, these muffins are sure to please!
Recipe Here ➚

Crunchy Apple Salad

Crunchy, sweet and tart, this salad will brighten any menu or salad bar!
Recipe Here ➚

Chicken Salad with Apples, Cranberries & Walnuts

A quick cold chicken salad featuring USDA chicken, local apples, and regional cranberries!
Recipe Here ➚

Apple Cranberry Cole Slaw

This is a superb autumn school food service recipe to feature local apples, cabbage, and honey!
Recipe Here ➚

Fresh Apple Crisp

A quick, hot, and easy breakfast or lunch to feature local apples!
Recipe Here ➚

Cucumber & Apple Salad

A light and tangy salad with cucumbers, bell peppers, fresh herbs, and local apples!
Recipe Here ➚

Fresh Kale, Apple & Cranberry Fall Salad

A no cook recipe featuring leafy greens, regional cranberries, and delicious local apples!
Recipe Here ➚

Crunch Time Tips

  • To ensure everyone can enjoy the Crunch and that apples don’t go to waste, consider cutting apples into halves or slices for younger students.
  • Make the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch into a school-wide celebration by pairing older students and younger students together for crunch time.
  • Don’t forget to appoint a parent, teacher, student or community member to act as photographer or videographer and capture all the action of the Great Apple Crunch!
  • Post to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #GreatAppleCrunch #CultivateMichigan #F2SMonth #MIAppleCrunch

Keep The Crunch Going All Day!

  • Taste test multiple apple varieties and vote on your favorite.
  • Feature a recipe with local apples in school breakfast or lunch throughout October.
  • Invite a local farmer to the classroom or cafeteria to participate in the event!
  • Arrange a field trip to a local orchard and Crunch under the trees.
  • Lead a hands-on cooking class for students featuring a healthy apple recipe.
  • Take a look at the apple-based learning ideas on the next two pages to connect your Crunch to the classroom.

Connect to Learning

The Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch can be extended to apple-based learning activities for a creative way to meet learning requirements for language, math, science and more! Check out the resources below for apple-themed learning activities geared to different ages.

Middle School & High School

Pre-K & Elementary Lessons

Promote Your Crunch

Once your planning team has established your Great Apple Crunch activities, share the word with the school community to let everyone know about the Crunch and build excitement. Here are some general promotion and outreach ideas:

  • Announce the event in your school’s newsletter or email system. Use this opportunity to ask for student, staff and community volunteers to lead classroom or cafeteria Apple Crunch activities.
  • Promote the event through social media using the hashtags #MIAppleCrunch, #F2SMonth, and #CultivateMichigan. On Facebook, repost the "We Registered" badge, and share the Crunch Countdown posts.
  • Encourage students to wear apple colors on Crunch day - like red, green, and yellow. Have different grades or classrooms choose different apple colors to wear.
  • Present your idea at a school board meeting. Use the meeting to gather input or request funding for the Crunch and activities.
  • Arrange a special Apple Crunch planning meeting open to the public. Be sure to find a time where most parents and teachers can join.
  • Create flyers to post around the school, cafeteria, and community. Use the Great Apple Crunch logo to advertise your event or host a contest for students to create a poster design to promote your event!
  • Do a "Crunch Countdown" over morning announcements for ten days before the Crunch.

Share Your Story

It’s not a Crunch heard 'round the region unless you get the word out far and wide! 

Important reminder: Make sure you have appropriate photo release forms for youth featured in your Great Apple Crunch photos.

  • Inform local newspapers and television reporters know about your Apple Crunch. Send a press release or invitation to join your event. Click here ➚ for a template press release to customize for your outreach. Use the celebration as a way to share more about your farm to school activities, local food purchasing, and National Farm to School Month.
  • Get out your camera, smartphone, or video device and take a “crunch byte” to share through social media.
  • Share your event widely through Facebook and other social media! Post to your page and with the Michigan Apple Crunch page too! Facebook:➚
    *Note: any photos or videos posted to social media may be used in future Apple Crunch promo material.
  • Use the hashtags #F2SMonth #MIAppleCrunch and #CultivateMichigan to share your images on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Great Lakes Apple Crunch Logo

Don’t forget to download your copy of the Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch logo. Use the logo to promote the Great Apple Crunch around your community, on your website, and on social media.

You will find various public logo files for your state at the link below. Customize promotional items like posters, blog posts, and social media content. Click this link to access the logo files.

For More Information

  • Mariel Borgman
    Community Food Systems Educator
    Michigan State University Extension
    989-506-3922 |
  • Kelly McClelland
    Community Food Systems Educator
    Michigan State University Extension
    810-244-8555 |
  • Garrett Ziegler
    Community Food Systems Educator
    Michigan State University Extension
    616-608-7436 |

Join the Michigan Farm to Institution Network ➚ and  Cultivate Michigan ➚

For more information on the Great Lakes Apple Crunch: ➚

Discover Farm to School Month: ➚

Download the sample press release at this website:➚


Accessibility Questions:

For questions about accessibility and/or if you need additional accommodations for a specific document, please send an email to ANR Communications & Marketing at