The right to taste: Conceptualizing the nourishing potential of school lunch


The National School Lunch Program (NLSP) draws on federal poverty guidelines to distribute free, reduced, and full price meals to students throughout the United States. The NSLP aims to provide nutritious meals to students in need, and in 2014, the Community Eligibility Provision expanded food entitlements, allowing high poverty districts to serve all meals free. This study analyzes pilot ethnographic research conducted in an urban elementary school and draws on three dimensions of nourishment to consider the impact of school meals. Failure to understand how the filling, invigorating, and gratifying dimensions of nourishment engage and contradict one another diminishes the overall impact of school food entitlements. Drawing on the NSLP “offer vs serve” model, this article presents the right to taste as a conceptual platform for obtaining all dimensions of nourishment.

Publication Title

Food and Foodways