School Food Politics

  • Marcus B. Weaver-Hightower

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This video explores how school lunches—the meal nearly everyone who went to school loves or hates—make their way from policy to plate. Segments delves into major themes and topics in food politics by following the evolution of school food from the start of the US National School Lunch Program in the 1940s to today, covering some major current debates over school feeding and the political fights over what is fed, to whom, and how.


This video explores how school lunches make their way from policy to plate, delving into major themes in food politics using examples from the US and UK.

About The Author

Marcus B. Weaver-Hightower

Marcus B. Weaver-Hightower is Professor in Foundations of Education and faculty affiliate in the Food Studies program at Virginia Tech, USA, where he teaches graduate courses in gender and education, the sociology of education, and qualitative research. He is the author of Unpacking School Lunch: Understanding the Hidden Politics of School Food (Palgrave, 2022).


About this video

Marcus B. Weaver-Hightower
Online ISBN
Total duration
1 hr 8 min
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright information
© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2024

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Video Transcript

Welcome to this series on school food politics. And thanks for clicking on this video to learn what the whole series is about. I’m Marcus Weaver-Hightower, professor and program leader of the Foundations of Education program at Virginia Tech. For the past 15 years, I’ve literally gone all over the globe to learn about what and how kids eat at school and sometimes the tense politics of how governments feed kids. I’ve also written a book called Unpacking School Lunch: Understanding the Hidden Politics of School Food.

In that book, I delve into the heated political battles over what kids eat at school, shedding light on how policymakers in the US and elsewhere craft food policy for schools. My book examines issues like hungry line backers, pink slime, English celebrity chefs and policymaking, pizza as a vegetable, lunch shaming, and more. I also offer a progressive vision of school food that’s healthy, pleasurable, educative, shame-free, and, most importantly, free for all students, just like the rest of school.

This video series covers some of that same territory, of course, but you’ll get treated to a few special topics that I didn’t have space for in the book. Best of all, since this is video, I can show pictures. So thanks again for your interest in this topic. I hope you enjoy journeying with me through the world of school food in the coming videos.