What’s in your school lunchbox?

Food has profound symbolic values that shape one’s cultural identity. For immigrant families in Canada, food often plays a crucial role to maintain their emotional ties to “home” and preserve their culinary identities across generations. But school food environments shaped by dominant food norms can produce a feeling of shame and embarrassment for children whose food practices are not in tune. 

Lunchbox Shaming: Asian Immigrant Families’ Perspectives on Canadian School Food Environment is an innovative arts-informed research project that explores how children, youth, and their families from three Asian visible minority groups (i.e., Chinese, Indian, Filipino) describe their experiences at school lunch time in Canada. The project is funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Development Grant (2020-22). 

This project will generate a rich description – both in words and visuals – of how Asian-identifying families navigate through the Canadian school food system. We hope the findings from this study can further conversations toward a more diverse and inclusive school food environment. We also want to assess the validity and feasibility of the arts-informed method in researching with (not on) children, youth, and families from diverse backgrounds and abilities.

This blog is a one-stop shop for our research. We will be sharing preliminary findings, relevant resources, digital stories, recipes, and much more!