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Unit 3: Food Inc. & the Strategies Assignment


Introduction & Background Info for Food Inc.

Food Inc.: the movie, the transcript, the trailer & background info



Food Inc.: Videos, Interviews & Reviews


Local Connections

  • San Diego Roots Sustainable Food Project  (this is the organization Misha Johnson works for). Roots is "a network of citizens, farmers, chefs, gardeners, teachers, and students working to encourage the growth and consumption of regional food. From farm to fork, we focus awareness and work toward a more ecologically sound, economically viable and socially just food system in San Diego."
  • Aztec Farms is non-profit, 100% organic, student-worked and partially student-managed, and dedicated to research and education on sustainable local agriculture issues. Run by SDSU, the farm is in the 5000 acre Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve, an hour north of San Diego. http://www.aztecfarms.org/ 


Food Inc Teaching Materials


Jigsaw/Pre-reading/Discussion Questions

Jig Saw Research for Students to Do: ask students to research people/key references in the movie - e.g. Upton Sinclairs The Jungle, filmmaker Robert Kenner, Eric Schlosser, Michael Pollan, Monsanto, Oprah and veggie libel laws, Joel Salatin, Polyface Farms, and Stonyfield Company. Round-up and round-up resistant GMO seeds.
Pre-reading/Discussion questions

  1. Quiz about use of GMOs, produced by PBS companion site for Food Inc. Could be used as part of pre-reading exercises.
  2. This provocative op-ed by Mark Bittman (“Bad Food? Tax It, and Subsidize Vegetables”) advances many claims that could be used to get students debating issues raised in Food Inc.
  3. To what extent is obesity a personal choice, and to what extent is it caused by the larger context the regulatory environment, systems of subsidies, food policy, marketing and advertising, urban design and political choices? SEE OECD report on obesity http://www.oecd.org/health/fitnotfat (a summary is here ) "A new report has found that over two-thirds of the U.S. population is currently overweight. The report, released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), says that "soaring obesity rates make the US the fattest country in the OECD." More alarmingly, the problem of obesity in the U.S. is not limited to adults: America also has the highest rate of child obesity among developed nations. America, of course, is not alone among OECD nations in the struggle to deal with weight issues. In almost half of OECD countries, 50 percent or more of the population is now classified as overweight. Meanwhile, rates for obesity have doubled and even tripled in certain countries since 1980. Most tellingly, before 1980, the report states, rates of obesity in OECD countries were generally below 10 percent."
  4. Do you know which agricultural products are subsidized, and whether that makes a difference to what people eat, and what is in most foods? 
  5. Is our industrialized food system making us unhealthy obese, diabetic and primed for heart disease?
  6. Do your students know people with diabetes? Do you know which groups of people in the U.S. have the highest rates or diabetes? Of obesity?
  7. What role should the government play in a) regulating what people eat, b) informing people about what goes into their food, c) taxing, subsidizing, or incentivizing people to eat some things and not others? Examples: NYC bans hydrogenated oils; soda taxes should taxes be added to sodas the way taxes are to cigarettes, to discourage consumption, and help pay for the health costs?
  8. Should there be a soda ban in schools?
  9. Should manufacturers be required to list genetically modified food so consumers know about it? What about meat from cloned animals?
  10. Researchers have begun splicing genes from one type of Salmon to another type of Salmon in order to produce much larger, faster growing fish. Would you eat these? Should they be labeled? 
  11. Should fast food restaurants be required to list nutrition information not just on walls, but on the package, so consumers more able to see it like health warning on cigarettes? 
  12. Is organic food healthier? Is it better for the environment and/or animals? Why?
  13. Is the industrial food system unhealthy? Is it unethical?  Is it unsafe?
  14. Are all the antibiotics put into animals a problem? Why are antibiotics used so often in food production?
  15. Lyrics for the song "Super Size Me," by Toothpick.  The songs connects to many of the key issues in Food Inc. Could use this song as a prereading tool, as a way of opening discussing, or as material for rhetorical analysis.  




Teaching Rhetorical Strategies 


Lesson Plans:


Past Prompts:



Mixture of print and visual texts to introduce rhetorical strategies:



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