No it wasn't an earthquake during the first week of September, it was the sound of 27,000 kids from across Western Australia crunching on fresh vegetables while participating in The Great Vegie Crunch event.
Funded by the Agricultural Produce Commision and coordinated by Cancer Council WA’s Crunch&Sip program - The event encouraged student's to send their ‘crunch-o-meters’ off the scale by crunching together with their classmates as loud as they could. The Crunch&Sip team were excited to launch a new Crunch&Sip phone and tablet app, designed to measure the ‘crunchibels’ of the communal crunch and determine if it was a ‘quokka chew’ or a roaring ‘crocodile crunch’.
Cancer Council WA Schools Nutrition Coordinator, Shannon Wright, said The Great Vegie Crunch is one of the ways the Crunch&Sip program is supporting schools to make nutrition a fun and important part of the school curriculum.
“Over the years we’ve done a great job of encouraging kids to eat fruit, but the message hasn’t sunk in as well for vegies - only one in six WA kids are eating enough vegetables, meaning the vast majority are missing out on the nutrients they need for sustained health,” she said.
The timely release of a NewsConnect survey released before the event revealed a staggering quarter of Aussie kids believe fruit and vegies originate from the supermarket and only 22 per cent of kids aged six to eight can identify five to six vegetables in their raw state.
“These results are incredibly sad, and confirm the concerns we regularly hear from WA growers. We need to find more effective ways to engage kids in the food and nutrition process and treat this education with the same level of focus we provide subjects like English and maths,” Mrs Wright said.
“It doesn’t have to be a time-consuming thing - something as simple as including a Crunch&Sip break in the school day for students to eat a piece of veg provides an opportunity for a conversation to take place in the classroom.”
Mrs Wright said school vegie patches are another fantastic way to engage students in the fresh produce process. “Kids who have opportunities to explore, taste, cook and grow fruit and vegetables are more likely to have good long-term attitudes towards these foods, and develop healthy food habits that will continue into adulthood and prevent the risk of chronic disease,”
“We know we need to get savvier at reaching kids in an exciting way – we developed a new app this year to measure the volume of the crunch and provide fun facts about fruit and veg, and have joined Instagram and Facebook to share healthy recourses and recipe ideas to engage teachers and parents in the program too,” Mrs Wright said.
Congratulations to the following schools for winning Great Vegie Crunch prizes;
|$500 participation prize||East Butler Primary School|
|$300 survey prize||Mount Tarcoola Primary School|
|$200 survey prize||Pingelly Primary School|
|Crunch&Sip prize pack||Edgewater Primary School|
|Crunch&Sip prize pack||Clayton View Primary School|
|Crunch&Sip prize pack||East Narrogin Primary School|
Many thanks to the Agricultural Produce Commission for their continued support of this event.