Beyond Health & Nutrition: Re-framing school food programs through integrated food pedagogies
Keywords:School food environment, national school food program, Nutritionism, Integrated Food Pedagogies
In this paper, we present findings from a community-based research project on school food environments in 50 elementary and high schools in a mid-sized city in Ontario, Canada. Our findings highlight that schools' privilege five intersecting domains in the school food environment: 1) health and nutrition; 2) food access; 3) education and food literacy; 4) environment and sustainability; and 5) the socio-cultural aspects of food. These results illustrate that the dominant discourses about school food mainly revolve around health, nutrition and food access, yet many of the K-12 principals also identified food literacy and learning about sustainable food systems and the environment, in addition to the relational or socio-cultural aspects of foods as important elements of their school food environments. This integrative approach to food extends our understanding of food beyond charity, and opens up conversations about food as a human right. Ouranalysis shows the need to go beyond a health or nutrition school food program and consider integrative food pedagogies which will promote social and environmental food justice in the school food environment.
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