Date of Award
Changing the school food system requires that we critically examine our existing assumptions about how this system works. Currently, school food mirrors our larger food system as it is both highly processed and highly consolidated (Gaddis, 2019). Further, school food reflects larger societal assumptions around issues of social welfare and racial equity as a system that leaves many undernourished and wanting (Levine, 2008). Engaging critically with these assumptions is an essential step to dissecting the paradigms that shape our systems. Ultimately, dismantling these paradigms is what creates deep change (Meadows, 1999). To challenge my own assumptions around how school food works, I sought out the perspectives of the cafeteria staff who work within this system daily. Synthesizing these perspectives with the extant literature revealed the many contradictions and inconsistencies of school lunch. Examining these inconsistencies led me to broader incongruencies in how we approach both the issues and the solutions within school food. My deliverable for this project is a creative nonfiction essay. This method allowed me to weave academic literature with narrative storytelling. In so doing, I endeavor to invite interested audiences into a critical dialogue on our approaches to school food and systems issues.
Duff, Molly E., "Consider the lunch lady: Examining assumptions to create a paradigm shift within school lunch" (2023). Food Systems Master's Project Reports. 32.