Department or Program

Environmental Studies


Food justice is a dynamic approach to looking at systemic inequities underlying food access, production, and consumption. Education has been understood as central to realizing the adoption of food justice principles, and to giving more people agency over what they eat. As more schools look to adopt a curriculum that engages with this topic, the most effective way to teach students about these food-related challenges is still up for debate. By grounding in the 7th-grade context at Lewiston Middle School, this paper takes a multi-dimensional approach to analyzing how best to deliver a food justice curriculum to students. In conjunction with a community partner, researchers design a curriculum utilizing a Critical Food Systems Education framework that strives to provide an empowering, inclusive, and engaging learning experience to students. To analyze the effectiveness of this curriculum in achieving these three pillars, researchers develop three central questions and then utilize participant observation and a mid-unit questionnaire to address them. Within our three-pillar framework, we found that students were most engaged when lessons did not utilize computers, incorporated hands-on activities, and asked for student voice. When examining inclusivity, we found that the curriculum would likely benefit from increased focus on different cultural foodways, a systems thinking approach to food access, and incorporation of BIPOC-led food justice efforts and culinary knowledge. Lastly, while student empowerment was difficult to gauge due to time constraints, a focus on specific local food justice efforts and amplification of student voice could foster further empowerment.

Level of Access

Restricted: Campus/Bates Community Only Access

First Advisor

Jamie Haverkamp

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file

Community Engagement



Available to Bates community via local IP address or Bates login.