Universal School Lunch in NYC Year One: Insights from High School Cafeterias

Mar 20, 2019
  • Description

Community Food Advocates has just completed a new report of the first year of the Universal School Lunch program, with a deep dive into how the program has worked in high schools - where the students have been the hardest to reach. We visited high schools in all five boroughs, totaling 132 high schools in 54 buildings. We met with school administrators, cafeteria staff and students. 

Our visits to high schools helped us identify practices that can promote the program and encourage students to eat school lunch. These findings form the basis of our recommendations to the Chancellor, the Office of Food and Nutrition Services and school administrators.

We are pleased to report that high school students' participation increased by 15.2% - with little public promotion of the program. And high schools with the new Food Court-style cafeteria redesign increased participation by 31%! That is why significantly expanding the number of schools with the cafeteria redesign model remains a high priority for the Lunch 4 Learning Campaign.