Backyard Growers celebrates national Food Day in Gloucester schools

This October, Backyard Growers organized four Food Day Apple Crunch events in Gloucester schools, and brought over 2,000 Gloucester-grown apples into school cafeterias in six schools. A FoodCorps service member serving at Backyard Growers planned the events with school administrators and helped broker the relationship between the Gloucester school food service department and the new West Gloucester Orchard.

At Veterans, the Apple Crunch was part of the school's weekly meeting. Principal Matt Fusco made "compost" the word of the week and introduced his 5th grade classes who sang apple-themed songs they wrote together. Teachers and Backyard Growers staff helped pass out local apples, and after a quick talk about Food Day and the importance of healthy food, farmers, and local farms, students counted down and crunched into their apples in unison!

At Beeman, a similar event was held with over 300 students in their cafeteria led by Principal Ellen Sibley, Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, and Backyard Growers' FoodCorps service member Meghan Stratton. The only sound louder than the nearly 400-person crunch was the resounding "Mmmm" that followed it.

O'Maley Innovation Middle School did things a little differently. Backyard Growers partnered with the O'Maley Drama club to have a dramatic, musical, and comedic crunch complete with drone footage of students spelling out Food Day in the school's courtyard. Mayor Romeo Theken, Cape Ann Farmers Market Manager Niki Bogin, and Executive Director of Backyard Growers Lara Lepionka all participated in the Apple Crunch event. Media experts Martin Del Vecchio, Stephanie Cornell, and Stevens Brosnihan filmed the dramatics, so stay tuned for a featured video!

East Gloucester students, teachers, and staff crunched into their own delicious, local  Golden Delicious and Ruby Mac apples. Even students who normally don't eat apples tried the apples with their classmates, and they loved them!

West Parish and Plum Cove elementary schools joined the four other schools in serving the apples for lunch. With all six schools serving the apples, the Gloucester food service department brought in over 2,000 delicious local apples for Farm to School month! Food Service Director Phil Padulsky celebrated the success of the collaboration between his food service department, Backyard Growers, FoodCorps, and the West Gloucester Orchard saying, "What a great partnership!"