The only sounds echoing through Convent of the Sacred Heart’s hallways were the crunches of Granny Smiths, Galas and McIntoshes on Apple Crunch Day October 24.
In order to celebrate Food Day, a national holiday that promotes healthy and sustainable eating, the Connecticut Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encouraged local organizations and schools to participate in an Apple Crunch Day in which participants simultaneously bite into apples.
At noon, each Sacred Heart student indulged in the event with the 800 apples donated by Whole Foods Market in Greenwich and the Blue Jay Orchards in Bethel.
Modeled after the Food Day goals for 2014, Apple Crunch Day focuses on issues related to food justice, serves to bring awareness to food accessibility, advertising and quality, and encourages political leaders to improve food policies.
“Food Day envisions food that is healthy, affordable, and produced with care for the environment, farm animals, and the people who grow, harvest, and serve it,” according to foodday.org.
Dr. Victoria Landry, Upper School science teacher and Chair of Upper School Science Department, led Sacred Heart’s first Apple Crunch Day in an effort to spread awareness for nutritional health and food policies.
Dr. Landry’s Nutritional Chemistry and the Brain class, which teaches students about diet and its influence on the brain, also helped organize Apple Crunch Day.
“I’m really glad everyone at Sacred Heart was able to celebrate the Apple Crunch together to raise awareness of healthy eating,” senior Michaela D’Urso, a student in the new course, said. “I learned it’s really important to emphasize healthy choices especially in the younger generation, like the Lower School.”
Students publicized the event in morning meeting presentations, tweets and a featured post from senior Gissele Alzate’s popular Instagram food account, Feedyoursoull.
Mrs. Michelle Bostrup, registered dietitian and parent of senior Anabeth Bostrup, encouraged Dr. Landry to help bring Apple Crunch Day to Sacred Heart.
“It’s important to understand how our food choices impact our wellbeing because our health, the health of our nation, future generations and our planet depend on it,” Mrs. Bostrup said.
Mrs. Bostrup is a supporter of Food Day and hopes to spread awareness about healthier eating habits.
“I want both children and adults to feel empowered by the knowledge they acquire and believe that they are in control of what goes into their bodies and that eating can be healthy, delicious and fun,” Mrs. Bostrup said.
While the media plays a large role in encouraging consumers to buy organic and locally grown food, Dr. Landry believes that it does not focus on equally important topics such as food availability.
“There is much less conversation about the reality that some people do not have the luxury of choosing to ‘eat healthy,'” Dr. Landry said. “Access to fresh vegetables, fruits and quality protein sources is not a guarantee for all people in the world, and in our country.”
Dr. Landry refers to a region characterized by a lack of access to fresh foods as a “food desert.” Such regions can appear in any location.
“A food desert can exist anywhere, even in the middle of a major metropolitan area,” Dr. Landry said.
Dr. Landry’s Nutritional Chemistry and the Brain class coordinated Apple Crunch Day’s launch at Sacred Heart by drafting proposals, promoting the event on social media and presenting educational material to the Lower, Middle and Upper Schools.
Apple Crunch Day is just one of many efforts to encourage students to make healthier choices, and this first celebration marks the start of a new Sacred Heart tradition.
– Molly Geisinger, Co-Features Editor