BROOKINGS, S.D. – SDSU Extension is encouraging South Dakotans to join a statewide event promoting locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables.
The South Dakota Crunch off celebrates local produce and SDSU Extension’s Farm to School programs with a friendly interstate competition to see which state’s residents can encourage the most residents to eat local fruits and vegetables from Sept. 18 to Oct. 13.
In celebration of Farm to School Month in October, states around the region – Colorado, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming – are competing to get the most crunches per capita.
Anyone can participate, including schools, clubs, families and businesses. To join the Crunch Off, register a team, crunch into any South Dakota-grown fruit or vegetable as a team, and post a photo or video to social media with #SoDakCrunch to help South Dakota win the Crunch Crown. Take it one step further by pairing the crunch with educational activities. SDSU Extension is providing downloadable worksheets, crafts and lessons for all ages on extension.sdstate.edu.
Farm to school is a program model used across the nation, including South Dakota, to assist schools with local food sourcing, school or youth gardens, and local foods education. Crunch Off is one activity to encourage youth to develop healthy eating habits.
“Serving local foods to youth has been shown to increase acceptance of fruits and vegetables,” said Anna Tvedt, SDSU Extension Nutrition Field Specialist and registered dietitian. “Getting youth excited about fruits and vegetables sets them up for a healthy future.”
Tvedt said purchasing local foods also stimulates the local economy and supports area growers.
“It’s health-promoting for all ages to pause and enjoy local produce,” she said. “All ages, not only youth, are encouraged to participate."
To register, visit the SDSU Extension Events page and search “Crunch”.
For more information on Farm to School, visit the Farm to School page. For more information on South Dakota Crunch Off, contact Anna Tvedt, SDSU Extension Nutrition Field Specialist; or Claudia Botzet, SDSU Extension Nutrition Field Specialist.
The South Dakota Crunch Off is an annual statewide event to celebrate local produce and farm to school by crunching into any South Dakota grown fruit or vegetable.