The Planet That I Consume: Essay #1 Prompt

This essay asks that you consider the inner (and outer) workings of the world around you in terms of your food and other consumptions. We manipulate the planet and all of its creatures. We create, we consume, we build, and we destroy, but how often do we consider the processes and people that provide unceasingly for our unquenchable appetites? How often do we consider the consequences?

During this project we might ask ourselves: where do our food and our “stuff” come from, and at what cost? How have our foods and other goods been processed, conceived, even constructed, and then shipped and stored? How do we treat the animals we eat? How should we treat them? How are they killed? How conscious are we of the world we are taking from every single day? Where do we fit in? What do we have to say?

For this essay we are most interested in how we give and how we take from the planet, from plants, from animals, and from the people who share in the spaces we occupy.

During this essay block you will be asked to take part in conversations, readings, and writing activities which will require you to look closely at how we might have lived in the past, and how we currently live in and interact with the world around us, particularly when it comes to what we eat, the planet we exhaust and renew, and how our consumption shapes the world, in both positive and negative ways.

You will need to choose a topic (although it must be related to the main topic/theme of this essay block by considering your relationship with food and consumption and the consequences of your living and eating habits, on yourself, other individuals, societies, and the planet that we share) which you will then think about independently so that you might share your story in order to convince your reader that your experience is one with considering (we want a moral, a lesson, a warning, or maybe just something to consider).

You must have some exigency (a reason for writing, a “necessity”) before beginning this essay. In other words, this essay is a personal literacy narrative in which you discuss your own relationship with food and/or consumption and reflect upon the various factors (communal, cultural, political, familial, academic, etc.) that contribute to it. In this way, you are becoming literate in regard to your understanding of the ways in which these outside forces have played a role in shaping your thoughts and your ability to be an active, self-aware member of your various communities and beyond. To achieve this, you will write a “narrative essay” about how you might have acquired behaviors and attitudes related to food and consumption and what you learned from your experiences. In addition, you are encouraged to consider not only how these behaviors and/or experiences may have affected you, but how they affect society, as well.

You may wish to consider some or a few of the following as you draft your essay:

ï‚· Your educational background as well as that of those closest to you and how this relationship might have influenced your decisions when it comes to eating and living.

 Your attitude towards the “food cultures” within any communities you might belong.

ï‚· The ideas and themes that circle around food/consumption in the essays we have read.

ï‚· Any transformative experiences that pertain to your ideas of food and consumption.

ï‚· Your feelings in general towards your own concept of moral and ethical eating and living habits.

You are not being graded on the ideas you hold, but rather on your ability to convey them in an effectual way. Additionally, I will be looking to see that you are able to demonstrate a clear understanding of the ways in which your chosen experience has influenced your own eating habits and lifestyle.

Literacy Narrative Guidelines

A. 1200 words minimum

B. The narrative should explore an event (or a series of events) that exemplifies your experiences with food and/or consumption relevant to some aspect of the texts we have read.

C. The narrative should have a thesis, which addresses the importance of this topic for you personally and also for people generally. This thesis may be subtly developed (rather than explicitly stated).

Be aware that a subtle thesis does not necessarily occur in one single sentence. Rather, you should show your readers, rather than tell them, the relationship between your feelings towards food and consumption, and the belief you are working with. Furthermore, it will greatly strengthen your essay if you relay the importance and meaning of the experience for you and/or for a larger community. In other words think beyond yourself to show your reader this is an issue of importance beyond just you. Why does what we eat and how we “consume” the world matter for all of us?

D. The narrative should have a title and an introductory paragraph that promote interest.

E. The narrative should support claims about your experience/beliefs through vivid description and analysis of a significant event and the person(s) involved.

F. The narrative should have effective transitions (between sentences, paragraphs, and larger sections).

G. The narrative should be mostly free of mechanical, grammatical, and usage errors.

H. The narrative must include at least 3 secondary sources, one of which must come from a source other than the class readings.

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