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PART A: Midterm exam: Please submit by Sun. 11/3 at midnight.

You may use your book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and a dictionary, but not other sources.

Choose one of the following two prompts to respond to, and write an in-class essay focusing on The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Do NOT answer both choices. Indicate which choice you are addressing.

Each question includes a quotation from The Omnivore’s Dilemma and some questions. The quotation gives some focus to the question, and it is a jumping off point for analyzing a concept. Compose an essay with a thesis that answers this question. Demonstrate your understanding of the quote and its context, as well as your knowledge of how this applies to other examples in the book. You may want to summarize to some extent to show your knowledge of the book while remaining on topic.

Your essay should include:

No title needed. Label that you are responding to Choice #1 or Choice #2.

Introduction with thesis statement.

Address the specific question that you chose, and in relation to this answer, demonstrate your knowledge of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, using specific examples (at least 2 quotes) to support your point.

Conclusion;

No works cited page needed.

minimum length: 1.5 double-spaced typed pages

******************************************************************

Choice 1:

The inspiration for organic was to find a way to feed ourselves more in keeping with the logic of nature, to build a food system that looked more like an ecosystem that would draw its fertility and energy from the sun. To feed ourselves otherwise was “unsustainable,” a word that’s been so abused we’re apt to forget what it very specifically means: Sooner or later it must collapse. To a remarkable extent, farmers succeeded in creating the new food chain on their farm; the trouble began when they encountered the expectations of the supermarket. (183- 184)

At the end of chapter 9, “Big Organic,” Pollan reexamines the roots of the organic food movement and rise of industrial organic. Explain what he means by a food system that would look “more like an ecosystem,” and why this is necessary for sustainability. Many students are upset that Big Organic does not live up the its ideals and what it advertises, but how do the pressures of the supermarket–including what consumers demand–contribute to the industrialization of organic producers? What are possible solutions to this problem? Also connect your analysis to some of Pollan’s main points in this book.

Choice 2: Pollan describes his McDonald’s cheeseburger:

The more you concentrate on how it tastes, the less like anything it tastes. I said before McDonald’s serves a kind of comfort food, but after a few bites I’m more inclined to think they’re selling something more schematic than that–something more like a signifier of comfort food. So you eat more and eat more quickly, hoping somehow to catch up to the original idea of a cheeseburger. . . (119)

Why does Pollan find fast food to be more of an idea or a simulation of food, as opposed to real food? What helps to explain this, given the journey Pollan has taken to find out about this food’s origins? How does appearance vs. reality continually come up in his analysis of food systems? Also connect your analysis to some of Pollan’s main points in this book.

part B:

For the debate on the statement, “the overproduction of corn leads to negative consequences: factory farms, obesity, and the bankrupting of small farms,” before reading the debate 17 students were pro and 4 were against. After reading the debate, 13 students were pro and 10 were against. Therefore, the con side wins. Those who were pro agreed that overproduction leads to a drop in corn prices that will impact farms. Those who were con were convinced that overproduction can help solve the hunger situation and also provide resources to fall back on. From Pollan’s book, he emphasizes that overproduction is subsidized by the government and the taxpayers, and this policy leads to focus on producing corn that is fed to cows and processed food that contributes to the prevalence of fast food and obesity, as well as pollution. The policy benefits big companies that process corn, but farmers are on the verge of bankruptcy because prices keep falling.

PRO and CON(me), please submit your response to the summary and your experience doing the debate to Debate 6.2 Classmate Responses

the debate we did:

2. The overproduction of corn leads to negative consequences: factory farms, obesity, and the bankrupting of small farms.

PRO

Someone may point out that if we can utilize the “leftover” of those corns for other uses. In some case, I am sure there are parts of those corns can be used in improving technology or acting as an energy source. But keep in mind, those are just a little part. It is impossible to form a large project. Overproduction leads to a higher supply of agricultural products than the existing demand. The Existing models can satisfy the market and profits, and they are hard to rise. Mechanized agriculture needs massive investment in the early stage, and operation and management are difficult for the township and village enterprises. There is no giant and leading company in those areas, and there is no incentive to do this. Also, the ownership of rural land is too scattered. The land situation under the name of the same farmer may be an acre of land in the east, two points in the west, and half an acre in the south. It is challenging to implement mechanized operations on the land area.

The commodity corn, which had been wasted on the elevator, is a very different kind of corn compared with the corn we imagine—it is a product of human science rather than the corn that naturally grows in fields. According to the supply and demand relationship, overproduction leads to the prices of the products to fall, so that is an incentive for customers to buy more than they need in real life. What is more, the cheapness and availability of those corns drive developers to find even more ways to use it. The following consequence is those people would intake more than their bodies need, and obesity is one of the drawbacks of overproduction.

As Pollan mentioned: “So there was no longer any reason for anyone to care where the corn came from or who grew it, as long as it met the board’s standard. Since this standard was fairly minimal, growers and breeders were now free to train their energies on producing a bigger and bigger harvest.” (Pollan, 60) The phenomenon that agricultural product prices have severely deviated from value for a long time has not only significantly damped the enthusiasm and creativity of farmers in agricultural production, but also led to the decline of the farming economy. The deviation of price from value often triggered the periodic “earthquake” and “tsunami” of urban farm products market. And the direct victim is the small farm. So, the government should buy excess agricultural products to minimize the rate of the bankrupting of small farms.

Overall, I will not deny that there are some positive effects of enlarging the production of agriculture, like increase employment, stimulate technological innovation, and eliminate hungry. But the debate topic is about overproduction. Excessive means waste. To solve the waste problem, people will think of other methods, but most of these methods are difficult to implement or cause other harmful effects. That will cause a vicious circle. So from most perspectives, that will lead to most negative consequences rather than right sides.

Work Cited

Pollan, Michael. “The elevator”, The omnivore’s dilemma, 2009.

Discuss Question:

I believe there are a lot of students like me are all came from foreign countries. So in your countries, is there a suitable way to solve the problem of overproduction? For those who were born and raised in the US, have you ever experienced or heard of the drawbacks of overproduction?

My reply:

Excellent post, I appreciate that you have acknowledged that the corn leftover is never enough to be used in improving technology or acting as a source of energy. I agree that they are minimal that they cannot support a large project to benefit many people. However, I disagree with some of the impacts of overproduction that you have mentioned. For example, production may result in higher supply of agricultural products than the existing demand because this may only apply to a specific state or country. Most farming activities take place in the rural setting, but farmers lack the essential storage facilities to store the excess produce and thus may lead to wastage of food. On the other hand, residents in urban centers may not have adequate food and hence the need to ensure that the produced food reach the market on time by improving the transportation system and encourage mechanization of farm operations.

In as much as the prices of agricultural products may be lower due to increased supply, that does not mean that individuals may tend to purchase and consume more than their bodies need, thus leading to obesity. Some people may not even afford the available food due to other factors such as low-income and thus reduces their willingness to purchase. In such a case, some may prefer processed foods that can also compromise their health since farmers are more concerned with quantity than quality of products (Pollan 67). Small farmers will also not risk being bankrupt if the system does not encourage overproduction, and prices are at low prices. However, the government should provide loans to farmers to support the prices.

Despite the possible negative impacts of overproduction. I continue to support my position that overproduction does not lead to negative effects because many people benefit from the availability of affordable and quality food, thereby improving the quality of life.

Work Cited

Pollan, Michael. “The elevator”, The omnivore’s dilemma, 2009.

and my post:

CON

The overproduction of corn does not lead to negative consequences: factory farms, obesity, food poisoning, and the bankrupting of small farms.

Increased corn production has led to the increased availability of animal products at affordable prices, and thus people can have enough meals to sustain them. Unlike before, when some families used to consume meat on special occasions, now there is plenty of affordable beef, and they can have at least three meals a day (Pollan 67). Food security has been a concern for most countries and having sufficient production avails not only adequate but also affordable and quality food for the nation. Besides, some of the by-products generate additional income for farmers. Therefore, it is essential to create public awareness of the efficient measures taken to encourage the production and availability of affordable products to enhance the living conditions of individuals.

Furthermore, a country desires to produce more food than demanded at the time since it can store the excess for future consumption and avoid the impacts of other factors that affect agricultural activities. For example, most farming operations take place in rural areas where the farmers have inadequate storage facilities and thus may result in improper storage of harvest (Pollan 62). However, the government provides incentives for farmers and has facilitated the sales of produce in urban centers through the construction of railroads that ensure the products reach the market on time and in the right quality.

Also, deficiency payments encourage farmers to produce more regardless of the prevailing market price (Pollan 62). Increased supply automatically leads to low prices, and that means that people can afford to purchase as much food as they want. The result is reduced malnutrition and other related diseases that affect people with limited access to food, especially individuals from low-income households.

Some people may argue that overproduction may result in food poisoning, and it can affect the lives of many people (Pollan 59). However, it is essential to note that farmers have to meet the set standards to sell their products and thus will have to ensure that they avail quality products that are fit for consumption to the market. Besides, the government subsidies allow farmers to generate profits from their produces even though the low prices prevail in the market. Farmers will focus on building storage facilities or use government storage units to hold the product until needed in the market. Small farmers will also diversify in agricultural commodities and thus reduce the possibility of being bankrupt.

Work Cited

Pollan, Michael. “The elevator”, The omnivore’s dilemma, 2009.

Rebuttal and question

The question that I would like to address in class is whether it is possible to attain food security without compromising public health and the environment.

pro response to me :

Rebuttal and Discussion Question:

I don’t agree with what Yihong said. First of all, he mentioned that the increase in agriculture production can provide qualified food for poor people. I cannot deny that it is a reasonable and ideal way when the main problem is food and clothing. But in fact, most people in America now have enough to eat within their income range. Yihong argued, farmers have to meet the set standards to sell their products and thus will have to ensure that they avail quality products that are fit for consumption to the market. But he may forget that the National standards are not as strict as imagined. If people ear this kind of grain for a long time, these things that can only fill the stomach will lead to malnutrition and even food poisoning. “Since the standard was fairly minimal, growers and breeders were now free to train their energies on producing a bigger and bigger harvest.” (Pollan,60)

Second, he stated that adequate food reserve is essential for a country prepared in case of a particular situation need. But the background that Pollan described is that the corns are even being wasted because of overproduction. The previous year’s had been a bumper crop in this year of the Midwest; the pile represented what was left of the millions of bushels of corn that had overflowed the elevators last October. (Pollan, 57) The food reserves are far more than we need. A lot of hoarding requires storage space, but no one wants to waste money just to storage corn which price is low enough to buy some fresh one.

Also, deficiency payments encourage farmers to produce more regardless of the prevailing market price (Pollan, 62). I cannot deny that the decreasing price is attractive to consumers. But in addition to the little benefits consumers receive, we should consider the loss of farmers. The more the price of corn decreases, the more impoverished the individual farmers will be. For the production of corn, farmers need to invest more cost and time, but their income is less than before.

Work Cited

Pollan, Michael. “The elevator”, The omnivore’s dilemma, 2009.

Discuss Question:

I believe there are a lot of students like me are all came from foreign countries. So in your countries, is there a suitable way to solve the problem of overproduction? For those who were born and raised in the US, have you ever experienced or heard of the drawbacks of overproduction?

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