On Monday, October 24th, students at Bowe School crunched into an apple in celebration of National Food Day; a day that emphasizes the importance of providing local, just, healthy, and affordable food to all people. Chicopee was asked to host an apple crunch event in honor of Food Day, due to their dedication and leadership in the Massachusetts Farm to School Movement. Apple Crunch events were held all across the country as a way to unify people towards the focus of healthier food and supporting local farmers. Students at Bowe School designed posters, which showed what they knew about farm to school, the benefits of eating healthy as well as their excitement about the Apple Crunch and National Food Day.
During lunch, 4th grade students and their teachers stayed in the cafeteria, which was surrounded by fall decorations and a table full of local apples and cider. Students were first introduced to Bowe’s distinguished guests, including Mayor Kos, Superintendent Rege, Assistant Superintendent Clark, Massachusetts Commissioner of Agriculture John Lebeaux, Mary Jordan of the Department of Agriculture, John Moriarty a representative from Senator Humason’s office, and Chicopee Food Service Director, Joanne Lennon. They then listened attentively to FoodCorps Service Member, Greta Shwachman, who explained the benefits of farm to school on our health, our environment, and our local economy. Following this speech, Massachusetts Commissioner of Agricultural, John Lebeaux, presented Chicopee with a special proclamation to celebrate their outstanding work in farm to school. Then, it was time to let the countdown begin….
The results are officially in for the 2nd Annual Chicopee Pumpkin Growing Contest. Last year, fourth grade students at each elementary school were given pumpkin seeds, which they started planting in their classrooms. Some of those students brought their seedlings home and worked hard all summer to care for them and learn more about the science of growing pumpkins. Last week, 46 fifth grade students across Chicopee brought their pumpkins back into school for a final weigh in to determine who grew the heaviest pumpkin. The first place winner at each school won a brand new bike, second place won a $25 gift card, and all of the participants received a voucher for an ice cream at McCray’s farm in South Hadley. Many parents on the competition Facebook page expressed gratitude for this experience, stating that they enjoyed watching and growing the pumpkin together as a family. One parent had this to say about the competition: “[It] was a great experience for my kid, they loved it.” Our hope at ChicopeeFRESH is that by directly engaging in the growing process, students gain an appreciation for local farming efforts and take a more vested interest in their food choices.
The 2016 Chicopee Pumpkin Contest Results are…(drumroll please)....
Bowe: 1st- Tre (10.62 lbs), 2nd- Kiara (7.23 lbs), 3rd- Caroline (picture), DuWayne (3.28 lbs*), Danasha (1lb*), Brooke (0.64 lb*)
Litwin: 1st- Ayden (10.98 lbs), 2nd- Chase (10.09 lbs), 3rd-Kayden (8.65 lbs), Hayleigh (6.46 lbs), Nick (2.2 lbs), Tenzin (.76 lb), Ella (picture)
Barry: 1st- Nathan B. (12.38 lbs), 2nd- Adam (10.23 lbs), 3rd- Nathan F. (1.48 lbs)
Lambert-Lavoie: 1st- Kaitlyn (12.47 lbs), 2nd- Maddox (7.61 lbs), 3rd- Kayla (6.08 lbs), Alexandra (4.47 lbs), Hayden (4.12 lbs), Layton (2.89 lbs), Fallon (2.11 lbs), McKenzie (2.09 lbs), Kate (picture)
Stefanik: 1st- Kayla (13.37 lbs), 2nd- Kyle (12.44 lbs), 3rd- Jaelyn (11.63 lbs), Lexyanna (4.33 lbs), Ja’Kaila (0.02 lb), Joe (flower), Emily (picture), Yanitza (a day late but BIG)
Streiber: 1st- Noah (10.76 lbs), 2nd- Trey (6.69 lbs), 3rd- Joshua ( 5.87 lbs), Ellana (2.58 lbs), Makayla (picture)
Fairview: 1st- Noah (17.10 lbs), 2nd- William (6.94 lbs), 3rd- Brianna (3.56 lbs), Colleen (1.45 lbs)
Bowie: 1st- Anessa (12.58), 2nd- MacKenzie (6.26 lbs), 3rd- Colin (3.25 lbs.), Julia (0.43 lb)
*- student borrowed from school garden
(picture)- Student grew a pumpkin at home but it did not produce a pumpkin so they brought in a picture
Top 10 heaviest pumpkins:
1- Noah Q (Fairview) -17.10 lbs
2- Kayla (Stefanik) -13.37 lbs
3- Anessa (Bowie) -12.58 lbs
4- Kaitlyn (Lambert) -12.47 lbs
5- Kyle (Stefanik) -12.44 lbs
6- Nathan (Barry) -12.38 lbs
7- Jaelyn (Stefanik) -11.63 lbs
8- Ayden (Litwin) -10.98 lbs
9- Noah (Streiber) -10.76 lbs
10-Tre (Bowe) -10.62 lbs
We visited Becky on a brisk September morning to see how this new breakfast item was going over with her students. We were thrilled to find many kids taking the muffins and loving them! One student said the muffins were better than his mom's! We couldn't ask for higher praise than that :)
The goal of this baking program is to incorporate more local, freshly made foods into school breakfast. Not only will this help us increase our local food purchasing and elevate the quality of our breakfast to match our local, healthy lunches, but it will also give our students long lasting energy to perform well in school.
We hope to expand this program as the year goes on, so stay tuned for updates! The next school to begin preparing local muffins is Barry Elementary!
The ChicopeeFRESH team is a group of creative individuals who are working to feed Chicopee students healthy, local and FRESH foods each day.