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Feminist Economics

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School children -- Food -- Social aspects, National School Lunch Program (U.S.) -- Evaluation, Sustainable agriculture, Social justice


Public school lunch programs in the United States are contested political terrains shaped by government agencies, civil society activists, and agri-food companies. The particular organization of these programs has consequences for public health, social justice, and ecological sustainability. This contribution draws on political economy, critical food studies, and feminist economics to analyze the US National School Lunch Program, one of the world's oldest and largest government-sponsored school lunch programs. It makes visible the social and environmental costs of the "heat-and-serve" economy, where widely used metrics consider only the speed and volume of service as productive work. This study demonstrates that such a narrow understanding of the labor of lunch devalues care and undercuts the potential for school food provisioning to promote ecological and feminist goals. Further, it proposes a "high road" alternative and outlines an agenda for reorganizing school food provisioning to maximize care in all its dimensions


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Feminist Economics on July 2018, available online:



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