Gaddis’s research focuses on public school-lunch programs and their potential benefits for children, families, food-chain workers, and the environment. Overarching themes in Gaddis’s writings include local food systems, ecological sustainability, community-labor organizing, care work, and feminist food politics. Gaddis' research began with the US National School Lunch Program and has since expanded to include comparative research in China, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, and Finland that looks at how civil society activism, corporate interests, and national policy priorities shape the social justice and ecological goals of government-sponsored school lunch programs. An additional area of research focuses on indigenous food sovereignty activism across Turtle Island (North America). Gaddis serves as the advisor and board member of Slow Food-UW, a registered student organization and 501c3 nonprofit organization.
In the News
Notes that school cooks and cafeterias are not a cost to be minimized, but rather the greatest allies of the movement to bring "real" food to American school kitchens and cafeterias. Explains the need to empower them to cook fresh, healthy, and sustainable school lunches for the nation's children.
Proposes an agenda for addressing social justice and ecological issues within public school-lunch programs by reorganizing school food provisioning in ways that maximize care for both people and the planet.
Presents several examples of how activists and academics are partnering to advance food justice. Includes discussion of common challenges and recommends that potential partners: connect to their personal experience; build trust; develop common strategies; build on previous community efforts; and, appreciate power differences and reciprocate accordingly.
Provides a lesson plan for a classroom-based activity that could be used in high school or college classrooms to teach students about food systems issues. Includes several tasting activities that encourage students to use multiple senses (e.g., taste, sight, touch) to explore differences in seemingly uniform "commodities" like milk and chocolate.
Defines action research as an approach that orchestrates cyclical processes of action and research that are simultaneously contributing to addressing practical concerns related to social issues and to the goals of social science. Includes a discussion of the design and conduct of action research, along with several case study examples.
Tells the story of why US school kitchens do so little on-site cooking. Highlights several worker-led campaigns to bring "real food and real jobs" to American school kitchens and cafeteria.