The personal is political.
–1960s feminist movement
My research uses critical feminist and ecological lenses to examine the social, political, and economic organization of everyday life. As a transdisciplinary and action-oriented scholar, I use ethnographic, archival, and participatory research methods to move beyond critique to envision and advocate for a politics of the possible.
My first book, The Labor of Lunch: Why We Need Real Food and Real Jobs in American Public Schools, is a work of activist scholarship that centers the perspectives of school lunch activists and frontline cafeteria workers who are fighting for food justice in communities across the United States. My second book-length project draws on fieldwork in China, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, and Finland to examine how civil society activism, corporate interests, and national policy priorities shape the social justice and ecological goals of government-sponsored school lunch programs. By uncovering how, when, and to what extent school lunch programs operate as a site of resistance to the status quo—in terms of advancing food sovereignty, just labor practices, and ecological sustainability—this research will offer insight into just how pervasive the social expectation that school lunch, and care more broadly, should be “cheap,” and what can be done to shift the conversation to a more generative space from which to collectively reimagine the social organization of care through public institutions.
In addition to this research on public-school lunch programs, I partner with graduate students in the Civil Society and Community Research program on several community-based projects related to food justice in urban communities and food sovereignty in Native communities.
PhD, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University
BS, Materials Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies
Havens-Wright Center for Social Justice
Center for Cooperatives
Center for Child and Family Well-being
School for Workers Labor Advisory Board
Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems
Slow Food UW (Faculty Advisor)