The lunch club

Empowering student voice in cafeterias

Become a high school student designer shaping the future of school cafeterias

Join The Club

The Challenge

School cafeterias represent the largest point of access to food in our school systems and are a critical part of the future of our food systems.

Cafeterias should be equitable spaces where students of all identities can feel equally valued, feel empowered to engage actively in their food system, and eat food that preserves their planet and supports their health. However, many of our school cafeterias are failing to do this.

How can we address this? By empowering the main stakeholder of these spaces, the students themselves, to design and create the equitable, sustainable, and healthy cafeteria space of the future.

The Platform

The Lunch Club is a platform that guides high school students through the design process of identifying, co-creating, and sharing their visions for equitable and sustainable change in their cafeterias.

The platform leverages Empowerment Theory and a project-based learning framework to empower students to take on the role of designer and view themselves as change agents of their environment.


Designing a better future

School Cafeteria Sustainable & Equitable Development Goals 

Between 2020–2021, a cohort of students across the State of Michigan participated in a design research project to identify what high school students wanted in their cafeterias in the year 2030. From the hundreds of ideas submitted by students, 14 unifying goals were identified. These goals are meant to serve as a guide for students, schools, and policy makers as they generate ideas and implement changes in school cafeterias.

calling high school students

Become a Food Systems Designer

The Lunch Club platform will guide you through the process of creating and sharing your visions for the future of your cafeteria.


Design framework

Creating Change Through Empowerment

The Lunch Club uses empowerment theory and a project-based learning framework to place students as equal participants in an ongoing dialogue with decision-makers to create positive change.   

student Designer Spotlight

 Angela  Philips

Grade 10 

Design Tools

Explore The Lunch Club Toolkit   

Creating for Cafeterias

A visual guidebook for bringing student-led artwork to school cafeterias.

Cafeteria Futures Card Game

This game allows students to quickly generate ideas for future cafeterias.

The Lunch Club Simulation

Students take on various roles in a school cafeteria and design a new lunch menu.

Student Co-Creation Workshop

This workshop asks students to generate recommendations for future cafeterias. 

Cafeteria Mapping Activity

Students learn about their cafeteria through a layered mapping activity. 

The Lunch Club Simulation

Students take on various roles in a school cafeteria and design a new lunch menu.



Cafeteria Design Visions

Explore student-created designs for the future equitable and sustainable cafeteria.