Begin with an introductory paragraph that begins with an attention-

by Alex Horton

(choose any of the three topics)

Essay #2: Argument Regarding a Food Sustainability Topic Discussed in Weeks 3 & 4


Length:   3 pages of double-spaced, with mandatory in-text citations (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. and an accompanying works cited (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. list; use a 12-point standard font, such as Times New Roman, Georgia, or Arial (please refer to the manuscript formatting guidelines for MLA papers (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.).

Format:   Use MLA format for in-text citations. Follow direct quotations by citing the page number(s) in parenthesis. For example, for a book:  (Pollan 6), and for an article on a website, (Pollan).

Structure: Begin with an introductory paragraph that begins with an attention-grabbing first sentence, then introduces the topic and briefly outlines the evidence you will present in more detail in your body paragraphs. Finish your paper with a brief conclusion that sums up what your research revealed on the subject and offers a sense of closure. Save a quote, insight, or fact for your concluding paragraph, and never begin your conclusion “In conclusion…”

Source Requirements:  You must cite directly (direct quotation or paraphrase) from at least three  (3) outside sources to support your claims/opinions; at least two of the sources we read and discussed during weeks 3 and 4. The additional source/s can be one/s you have found while conducting your own research, but make sure they are reliable, current, relevant, and that you understand them well.

Audience Considerations: Please address your peers in this food sustainability-themed class. They, by Week 5, have quite a bit of knowledge under their belts about food stereotyping, food/cultural sensitivity, and issues of culinary racism, as well as a myriad of other topis, so you don’t have to repeat verbatim the kinds of talking points that came up during the week 3/4 discussion. That said, please take issues brought up in our textbook and in discussion to a deeper level – going beyond what was discussed. For example, you might introduce a new perspective on cultural insensitivity or seafarming or the safety of GM foods by quoting from a source not discussed in Weeks 3/4.

Yes, I am reading your essays, but I am reading/grading them in terms of how they aim to present and support a thesis to a college-level audience that is also familiar with food sustainability issues. We are ALL learning about food sustainability issues here – issues that are constantly changing – so I consider myself a learner in this class.

How to Format Your Essay: Format your essay exactly as it tells you to do here (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. Do not lose points for neglecting to follow these guidelines. Notice how the information provided goes in this order: Student Name, Instructor Name, Course Name, Date. Also, notice that the title appears on the very next line (no extra spacing). Make sure that every page is numbered in the upper right hand corner with your last name. Example: Silano 1, Silano 2, etc. Use the header function in MS Word to create this header.

Background: We have been reading and discussing many essays about food politics/food justice and America’s mostly unsustainable food system. Now it is time to choose a food-related topic and write a paper that uses evidence to support your opinion on your chosen subject. Your sources (you need a minimum of three) may include essays, online articles from reliable online periodicals, books, and blog entries.

Your job is to come up with a supportable opinion (thesis statement) about your subject, then provide evidence (reasons in the form of quoted and paraphrased text) to support your belief(s).

Your thesis statement will clearly state in one-sentence your “take” on the subject matter presented in your chosen texts. Never state your thesis as a question; you should state emphatically (strongly) your view, then go about proving it with the evidence you have gathered from reliable sources.

Develop a working thesis statement: A working thesis statement will help you to focus your thoughts and stay on topic. Writing this statement at the top of a rough draft or outline and looking at it often can help you remain focused throughout the essay. However, the thesis statement that you begin with is not set in stone. If you find that your essay shifts topic slightly, you can change your thesis in later drafts so that it matches your new focus.

Sample Working Thesis Statement: The term ‘food desert’ only somewhat accurately describes a more complex web of socio-economic conditions that prevent millions of Americans from filling their stomachs with fresh, healthy, unprocessed, and GMO-free foods. Food justice will not occur until everyone begins to work together to recognize that food access involves education in meal-planning, food nutrition, and becoming a savvy food consumer, not catchy phrases like “food insecure” and “food desert.”

1. Check out Appendix B,  Researching and Writing About Food, in FOOD: A Reader for Writers. It contains valuable information, such as research techniques, creating a concept map, getting familiar with campus libraries/librarians, evaluating and managing sources, and borrowed source integration and citation. There’s also a sample paper.

2.      Decide how you will use your sources: After completing your research and gathering sources, you may have a large or overwhelming amount of information. However, make sure to use only the most important parts of your research, the information that will best substantiate your thesis. At this point, you must decide which sources, and/or which parts of those sources, you will use.

3.      Organize your research: Now, decide the order in which you will present your evidence, the various arguments you will employ, and how you will convince your readers. Instead of treating one source at a time, your job will be to integrate your sources, determining and showing the relationships between. Consider comparing and contrasting ideas, laying out causes and effects, and arguing by example as  you weave information from different sources into a cohesive whole.

4.         Focus/selection of details: Having a main point or argument will help you in narrowing your focus and selecting only those quotations and paraphrases relevant to your argument. If you attempt to cite too much material, your essay will end up looking like a summary of three sources rather than a synthesized academic argument. On the other hand, too much reliance on personal experience and your own opinions will leave your reader feeling unconvinced because your claims will not be sufficiently substantiated.

To recap:

Drafting Strategies: (1) Choose a topic and consider where you stand on some aspect of that topic; (2) Read and re-read your sources, highlighting relevant passages and gathering direct quotes; (3) formulate a rough thesis statement; (4) sketch out a plan for organizing your essay; (5) draft topic sentences; (6) write the first draft/post to your assigned peer review group; (6) document sources and draft a works cited; (7) revise and proofread; (8) submit your essay to the instructor by the stated due date.

MLA Guidelines and Successful Incorporation of Borrowed Material:

All of your citations (borrowed material) must be cited (that is, the authors must be given credit for their words and/or ideas). Direct quotations, paraphrases, and paraphrases must all be cited, so your works cited will include a complete citation for each source you borrowed from in your essay.

Places to Get Help with How to Cite Your Borrowed Material: Use the MLA website (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. or Owl at Purdue  (Links to an external site.)Links to an external find accurate, up-to-date MLA citation guidelines. At the above-named links, you will find text and examples for citing information that is not common knowledge.  Common knowledge is defined as something obvious/well-known, or something that can be easily looked up in an encyclopedi. Examples of common knowledge: Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer before he became president of the U.S.; the American Civil War was fought between the northern and southern states.

Citations that Go with the Flow: Instead of being like stones on a sidewalk, your borrowed material should flow seamlessly in and out of your own writing. For more information on ‘the art of quoting,’ please read Chapter 3, “The Art of Quoting,” in They Say / I Say.

Parenthetical Citations: After you directly quote or paraphrase a source, you must provide a parenthetical citation unless it it is clear in your set-up who is being quoted and/or it is an online source without pagination. For example, this quote would require a parenthetical citation (either right after the author’s name or before the period) because we need to know the page number from which the writer is paraphrasing:

The Works Cited Page: A Works Cited page should always be the last page of your paper. It is an alphabetical listing of all the sources you quoted, paraphrased, or summarized in your paper. See Owl at Purdue (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. for examples and explanations for how to cite online and print images, books, magazines, letters, interviews, websites, etc.