Sarah Bowen

Associate Professor of Sociology, North Carolina State University
Chapter Member: North Carolina SSN

About Sarah

Bowen’s most recent research focuses on food access and on the relationships between food insecurity, inequality and childhood obesity. She directs Voices into Action: The Families, Food, and Health Project, which aims to use research and community partnerships to encourage and support projects and activities that impact food access and places to be active in North Carolina. An additional area of research focuses on the French notion of terroir and its applicability for farmers and food producers in the United States and Latin America.


No Jargon Podcast

In the News

Opinion: "How Real Families Use Food Stamps," Sarah Bowen, Politico, April 25, 2019.
Interviewed in "More Time in the Kitchen May Not Be the Answer to Feeding Kids Well," Civil Eats, March 1, 2019.
Research discussed by Lela Nargi, in "More Time in the Kitchen May Not Be the Answer to Feeding Kids Well," Civil Eats, March 1, 2019.
Opinion: "If Congress Changes Food Stamp Requirements, Kids Will Go Hungry," Sarah Bowen (with Sinikka Elliott and Annie Hardison-Moody), The New York Times, July 1, 2018.
Research discussed by Alfred Lubrano, in "Attacking People in Poverty for Buying Birthday Cakes and Other Treats with Food Stamps," The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 18, 2018.
Quoted by Lela Nargi in "What Children Understand about Food Insecurity," Civil Eats, March 26, 2018.
Quoted by Robert Preidt in "Poor, Minority Moms Face Tough Judgments over Kids' Weight," HealthDay, March 13, 2018.
Quoted by in "Poor Mothers Face Greater Scrutiny over Their Children's Weight," Medical Xpress, March 6, 2018.
Quoted by David Hammond in "Sotol, Spirit of the North American Desert," Chicago Tribune, February 28, 2018.
Opinion: "Attending the Nobel Prize Ceremony after Trump Snubbed the Winners," Sarah Bowen (with Mark Nance), The New York Times, December 20, 2017.
Guest on BBC's The Food Chain, May 7, 2017.
Quoted by in "Money, Not Access, Key to Resident Food Choices in 'Food Deserts'," Feedstuffs, March 14, 2017.
Opinion: "Restricting What Recipients of SNAP Benefits Eat Won't Fix Nutritional Issues," Sarah Bowen (with Sinnikka Elliott), The Hill, February 17, 2017.
Quoted by Max Ehrenfreund in "The Difference between What Rich and Poor Americans Eat is Getting Bigger," The Washington Post, June 23, 2016.
Interviewed in "Mezcalistas," Mezcalistas, May 18, 2015.
Quoted by Max Ehrenfreund in "Gwyneth Paltrow Bought on Food Stamps What Only Rich People Buy," The Washington Post, April 18, 2015.
Research discussed by Mark Bittman, in "Fight Poverty, Not Cooking," New York Times, November 4, 2014.
Guest on WNYC’s The Takeaway, October 1, 2014.
Research discussed by "With Home Cooking, is Feeding the Family, Feeding Resentment?," New York Times, September 21, 2014.
Guest on WPR’s Central Time, September 12, 2014.
Research discussed by Anna North, in "When Family Dinner Doesn’t Satisfy," New York Times, September 8, 2014.
Research discussed by Diana Reese, in "The Home-Cooked Family Dinner: Yes, It’s a Burden for Moms but is It Worthwhile?," The Washington Post, September 8, 2014.
Research discussed by Belinda Luscombe, in "We Need to Stop Guilting Parents into Cooking Dinner," Time, September 5, 2014.
Research discussed by Jeffrey Kluger, in "Why I Don’t Eat with My Kids," Time, September 4, 2014.
Research discussed by Charles Pulliam-Moore, in "Study Finds that Home-Cooking Disproporationately Burdens Mothers," PBS Newshour, September 4, 2014.


"The Joy of Cooking?" (with with Sinikka Elliott and Joslyn Brenton). Contexts 13, no. 3 (2014): 20-25.
Argues that the message that good parents – and in particular, good mothers – cook for their families dovetails with increasingly intensive and unrealistic standards of “good” mothers. Shows how for both middle- and lower-class families, cooking is complicated by time pressures, trade-offs designed to save money, and the burden of pleasing others. Argues that being poor makes it nearly impossible to enact the foodie version of a home-cooked meal.
"Local or Localized? Exploring Franco-Mediterranean Contributions to Alternative Food System Research" (with Tad Mutersbaugh). Agriculture and Human Values 3, no. 2 (2014): 201-213.

Argues that while American scholars and policymakers tend to understand “local” food in terms of the distance between producers and consumers, framing local food systems as (temporally and spatially) anchored in particular territories may offer greater rural development opportunities.