Essay Assignment

Return to Essay

GWRTC 103: Critical Reading and Writing
Fall 2010
Comfort
Second Essay Assignment: Investigating Issues Surrounding Food Production

Before beginning this project, read pp. 3-52, “Preparing for a Research Project,” “Conducting Research,” “Evaluating Sources and Taking Notes,” and “Acknowledging Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism,” from The St. Martin’s Pocket Guide to Research and Documentation.

For your second essay assignment you have a choice between two essay prompts.

First Choice:
The film King Corn and the first chapter of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, “Industrial Corn,” explore the role of corn in the production of food in the past and the role of corn today.  Write an essay investigating a specific issue involving food production in the U.S.

Some possible subjects to investigate: Beef production, poultry production, sustainable agriculture, organic food, The Farmers’ Market, GMOs (genetically engineered organisms), farm laborers, farm worker protection, food additives, foodborne illness.

Pick an issue that you are curious about. Be open to surprises.
Find a variety of sources.  Think about the kinds of sources Ellis, Cheney, and Pollan used for their investigations.

  • Research the background/history of your subject.  Look for articles, interviews, documentaries, books, and essays, which explore the issue you are investigating.
  • How has this issue affected individual people?
  • What measures are being taken by individuals to get involved with the issue you are examining? What measures are being taken by individuals to change or to improve this “piece” of  farming industry?
  • How can one make a difference as a consumer?
  • Go to a Farmers Market. Describe it and interview some customers. Interview a farmer/vendor. Harrisonburg has a local, farmers’ market http://harrisonburgfarmersmarket.com/. It’s located downtown and it’s open on Tuesdays and Saturdays, from 7:00 am until 1:00 pm.  (Optional)

 

Second Choice:
In their film, King Corn, Ellis and Curt explore their personal, familial connections to agriculture and food production. Did your grandparents or great-grandparents have a connection with agriculture and food production? If you have had a relationship with the industry, or if you had any role in food production, describe it.

Then investigate the role of food or food production in the lives of others. How do some of Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney’s ideas from their film King Corn connect with other individuals’ experiences with food and your family’s experiences with food? How can one make a difference as a consumer?

Pick an issue that you are curious about. Be open to surprises.
Find a variety of sources.  Think about the kinds of sources Ellis, Cheney, and Pollan used for their investigations.

  • Research the background/history of your subject.  Look for articles, interviews, documentaries, books, and essays, which explore the issue you are investigating.
  • How has this issue affected individual people?
  • Interview your grandparents. Ask them about their memories of food production, cooking, and mealtime rituals while they were growing up.
  • Go to a Farmers Market. Describe it and interview some customers. Interview a farmer/vendor. Harrisonburg has a local, farmers’ market http://harrisonburgfarmersmarket.com/ It’s located downtown and it’s open on Tuesdays and Saturdays, from 7:00 am until 1:00 pm.  (Optional)
  • What measures are being taken by individuals to get involved with the issue you are examining?
  • How can one make a difference as a consumer?

 

One on One Conferences  –  11/2 through 11/4 –  Bring your Working Bibliography and two copies of a draft of your essay.

Small Group Workshops – 11/9 and 11/11

Essay Portfolio Due 11/16 Tuesday.

Always SAVE each draft as a separate file. You will turn in ALL drafts of your essay and your final revision of your essay in a folder. Part of becoming a good writer is being dedicated to the process of writing.

Expect to make significant changes or additions when you revise.  I will of course be looking for a well-supported thesis, good mechanics, etc., but I also will be looking for original thought and honest, deeply considered responses.  The final revision should represent a substantial rewriting of the first draft, based on discussion, peer review, and peer editor advice.  You will need to produce a thorough revision of your earlier drafts, not simply a corrected or slightly amended version.

The Final Revision must have:

  • 1500-2000 words, typed on a word processor, 1’ margins, Times New Roman 12 pt. font, double-spaced, with a title; your name, date, course number, and section number; a page number at the bottom of each consecutive page;
  • sources cited within the piece, according to MLA format in your St. Martin’s Guide to Research and Documentation (pp. 67-73);
  • a Works Cited page citing the sources, formatted to MLA specifications in your St. Martin’s Guide to Research and Documentation (pp. 75-112);

In order to get credit for your Final Revision, you must turn all drafts of your essay in a folder.

 

Return to Essay