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The politics of school lunch, and the value of care.


Gender and gendered expectations of labor and the value of care really shaped the early constraints that the founders of school lunch programs encountered, but also this need for capitalism to have both a cheap supply of carework to reproduce workers, and a cheap supply of nature - or food in this case - really shaped the expectations surrounding what school lunch should be used for, and what budgets should look like, in terms of paying for the food, and the workers themselves.

Social ecologist Jennifer Gaddis explores the politics of school lunch in America - as a site of struggle over the value of both workers' labor and children's nutrition from the 19th century through the neoliberal era, and a revolutionary starting place to expand care and create healthier people and communities.

Jennifer is author of The Labor of Lunch: Why We Need Real Food and Real Jobs in American Public Schools from University of California Press.

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Jennifer Gaddis

Jennifer E. Gaddis is Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Society and Community Studies in the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.


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