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For this assignment, you are asked to reconcile your own food values, priorities, choices, and behaviors with the food system around you, then examine the potential of alternatives to meet your ideals. This assignment builds from a consideration of your own food values (Assignment 1) and behaviors (Weekly Food Audits) in the context of the food system you’ve observed (Assignment 2). The unique addition to this assignment comes from your ability to interpret whether alternatives could better meet your needs.
Your final paper should be no shorter than five* pages in length, and is not to exceed 15 pages. (*It is HIGHLY unlikely that you can give meaningful analysis to your topic in under eight pages, but I refuse to accept any submission that is less than five pages.)
Purpose:
The purpose of this assignment is to threefold. First, I expect you to consider something often neglected in the literature: What do YOU want? The assignment connects your stated values with your actual choices and behaviors in the food system…which leads us to the second purpose: To provide you with the opportunity to critically examine the food system that you interact with. You can study your own behaviors and actors in the food system as a means to give a description about its quality. Finally, I want you to challenge whether the food system that you interact with could be different. Are there alternatives? Are there things we can do to transform the food system, provide tools to consumers, or instill broader changes in our values that might deliver a food system that reflects your own ideals. This can be a depressing course. This third component is an opportunity to move beyond assessing flaws in the food system and instead develop some leadership or vision for improving the world around us.
Requirements:
You must clearly identify what your values and priorities in the food system are. Explain what concerns you the most and offer some explanation as to why it should be an item for our consideration.
You must discuss the composition of the food system as you’ve come to know it. Identify how your consumption behaviors and actors that you’ve identified in the food system reflect your abilities to make choices or demonstrate who has power to instill changes. You are welcome to incorporate professional literature to offer further explanation as to how you see the food system shaped (-see: industrialization, concentration, and globalization), but please make sure to discuss your own direct experiences in relation to the bigger picture.
You must include a review of your food audits that is responsive to quantitative (-use some numbers to describe things!) and qualitative (-describe the experience or meaning of your audits) elements.
You must compare the food system around you with your own values, priorities, or ideals. Where do you see it fulfilling your ideals? Where does it fall short? Try to specify the things that you want in direct conversation with your encounters over the previous months.
You must discuss an alternative (or alternatives) to conventional practices. It is not mandatory that you cite some precedent for your proposal in professional literature (like civic agriculture, slow food, or local food), but you may benefit from finding support for your ideas or articulation of their feasibility by outside sources.
You must examine to what degree you see the alternative meeting your needs. Is it transformative in recreating a system that aligns with everything you would want? Does it address one specific flaw and leave other values unattended? Please be frank in your discussion about the contributions and limitations.
Format:
6-15 pages in length
No more than 12pt font or double-spaced
I will ONLY accept digital submissions via our Canvas page.
Rubric:
Author has given detailed responses to all required components
Author demonstrates understanding of basic concepts related to guiding theory, terms, role of social structures, etc.
Author can apply sociological theories to area being examined.
Author demonstrates ability to connect theories and concepts to empirical observations or research.
Author’s documentation of sources is accurate
Author can evaluate strengths and weaknesses of proposed alternative
Author’s tone, style, vocabulary, and references are consistent with that of an academic submission
Author has met all format requirements
Final note:
Please don’t cut/paste your previous submissions (Assignments 1 &2) directly into this submission. Your ability to craft a coherent and cogent assessment is connected to your ability to synthesize things- to LEARN and RESPOND to things you’ve encountered. Your previous submissions were “check-in” assignments where tone, clarity, and depth of analysis were not scrutinized.

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