Countdown to Crunch
Join the fun next week on a Zoom Crunch of local greens
Do you need an excuse to eat leafy vegetables? A community-wide celebration next week highlighting locally grown greens may be just the push you need.
Community members are invited to join more than 1,800 Klamath County School District students and staff Oct. 26 and Oct. 28 in the third annual Countdown to Crunch celebrating National Farm to School Month.
In past years, students have crunched Oregon-grown apples together. This year, the crunch features Klamath-grown salad greens. Students will be crunching – and munching – greens grown by Katie Swanson, owner of Sweet Union Farm in Klamath Falls. You can buy Oregon-grown greens to crunch from a grocery store, Saturday’s downtown Farmers Market or online at www.kfom.org.
Students at eight schools will be crunching in their classrooms or cafeterias at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26 and Wednesday, Oct. 28. Other students and community members can join the Countdown to Crunch either day through online crunching parties. Blue Zones Project, KCSD, KFOM and OSU Extension are hosting a community crunch on Zoom. Click on the link to register for the Zoom Crunch: www.healthyklamath.org/crunchatonce. That Zoom Crunch will be broadcast on Facebook Live. Community members and organizations also are encouraged to host their own Facebook Live or Zoom crunching parties.
“When you collaboratively do something, it has a bigger impact,” said Patty Case, educator for OSU Klamath Extension Family and Community Health and coordinator for the event. “We need to value our local food production and we have to do that in a collective way. It takes a community to feed a community.”
OSU Extension will provide schools with information on greens. Access educational materials on leafy greens at www.foodhero.org. To view a fun video about the event: https://youtu.be/Yf2wfO0dtSk. Merrill, Malin, Henley, Shasta, Stearns and Bonanza elementaries and Lost River and Bonanza junior/senior high schools are participating in the Countdown to Crunch this year.
“We’re featuring a hyper-local farm and grower this year because COVID-19 has made us all acutely aware of how unstable our food system can be in a crisis,” Case said. “We want to acknowledge and encourage local growers to join the effort to feed our youth.
“On average, a food travels about 1,500 miles to get to our community. The greens students will be eating come from Sweet Union Farm only a few miles away. If we can create excitement and help students understand where their food comes from, we all win -- the schools, the growers and the local economy.”
Greens such as spinach, microgreens, lettuce, chard and kale tolerate the cold and can be grown eight or more months out of the year in the Klamath Basin. They are versatile and can be eaten cooked or raw, in salad, sandwiches and soups. In addition, they’re packed with nutrients, including vitamins A, C, K and folate to boost the immune system, according to experts at OSU Klamath Extension.