What's Up With School Lunch? w/ Jennifer E. Gaddis

November 29, 2019
Understanding the history of school lunch and how we can make it better.

I’ve always been perplexed by school lunch. It’s sort of taken as a part of school: a fairly bland looking, processed, mess that students deal with during the school day. Michael Moore in Where to Invade Next how ridiculous it was that the United States spends, on average, much more than other countries lunch programs, while not even serving fresh food.

It’s not uncommon to view any school’s lunch menu and see the same questionable offerings: chicken nuggets, french toast sticks, chicken sandwiches, hamburgers. And when I saw an ad for a new book, The Labor of Lunch by Jennifer E. Gaddis - I was thrilled to see an in-depth discussion on why school lunch is the way it is. It’s a chronicle of the history, social issues, and modern movement toward lunch reform.


Jennifer E. Gaddis, an assistant professor of Civil Society and Community Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Gaddis focuses on a feminist perspective of food politics, with a special focus on school lunch programs.


Gaddis’ Book: The Labor of Lunch: Why We Need Real Food and Real Jobs in American Public Schools via the University of California Press (use 19V3712 for 30% off.)

Jennifer E. Gaddis’ Website

The Chef Ann Foundation

Food Corps

National Farm to School Network
E143, Heritage Radio Network - Eating Matters: The Labor of (School) Lunch

E93, Bite: There Is Such Thing as a Free (School) Lunch

A YouTube icon.

watch now