16 July. Reflection, Pollan, Cookbook


Thanks for all your hard work last week. The following are some announcements, and please let me know if you have any questions.
  • 1. Any questions, problems, comments on the Explainer Videos? Questions about what to submit to Canvas OR how to format the Intro.?
  • 2. Finishing up grading the Posters. All look great so far. Does anyone mind if I upload the poster videos that you need to include in your portfolios to the Google Doc? If you do, email me and I can get it to you another way.
  • 3. What to expect for the next two weeks. Tomorrow is Grocery day, so meet me at the Publix Supermarket at the Plaza Midtown. You can take Tech Trolley, ETA 15 mins.  
  • 4. Please note: while not required, I encourage you to go to a local Farmer’s Market between now and the end of this unit.The Ponce City Farmer’s Market on the Beltline and under the shed at Ponce City Market opens at 4:00 PM tomorrow.You may also check out (and try to find all ingredients for your recipe at) a Fresh Marta Market, other ATL Farmer’s Markets such as The Buford Highway Farmer’s Market or The Decatur Farmer’s Market.

Video Reflection/Portfolio

Please take 8-10 mins and respond to the following questions; make sure you keep the draft of this response; and be prepared to share your responses.
  • 1.Explain your process in composing the the Explainer Video. Be as specific as possible, i.e. explain where your ideas came from and how they evolved, as well as your process (invention, prewriting, outlining, drafting peer review, revising, editing), and collaborative efforts. 
  • 2. Who is the intended audience for your video, and why is this an appropriate audience? How is your choice of audience reflected in your artifact?

Corn and Carbon Emissions

Please “get out” Michael Pollen’s, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Then, in groups of 6, take 10 minutes to think through the questions below, and summarize your answers on the board before we chat about them:
  • Group One: What is the “omnivore’s dilemma,” according to Pollan, and what structures have humans developed to try and solve it? How have solutions to this problem caused as many problems as they have solved?
  • Group Two: Why does Pollan think modern, US grocery stores should astound naturalists (16)? OR, why would a person have to a “fairly determined ecological detective” to trace something like the Twinkie back to its plan source (17)?
  • Group Three: Review the corn based products Pollan lists on 18-19. Were you surprised to learn that any of these items were made from corn? How does this list challenge the notion of biodiversity that the grocery store seems to promote, and why, according to Pollan, is monoculture a problem?
  • Group Four: What does Pollan mean when he says, “corn has succeeded in domesticating us” (23)?

Sustainability Cookbook

After we review the final assignment, we will complete the following:
  • 1. Freewrite: take 5 minutes and respond to the following without stopping: Describe why the recipe/dish you brought with you today, and then explain why it means a lot to you. The recipe/dish could be a food you associate with special time and place in your life, OR a food that is important to your family.
  • 2. Share some of our recipe stories
  • 3. Register for you Ivan Allen College blog, the tool we will use to publish the Cookbook.

For tomorrow, Tuesday, July 17, meet at Publix Supermarket at the Plaza Midtown and bring a copy of the recipe you want to work on for this unit.

RQ: Burns, Stranded in Atlanta’s Food Deserts”


Keep the following questions in mind as you read Rebecca Burns, “Stranded in Atlanta’s Food Deserts.” The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.

1. To what does the term “food desert” refer?

2. How does transportation intersect with food systems?

3. How do the experiences of the families profiled for this article, challenge our assumptions about the use and successfulness of public transit? In other words, we spent a lot of timing talking about the environmental and health benefits of alternative transportation, but what happens if those alternatives are not equitable or equitably distributed?

4. Describe Charles and Emma Davis’s monthly trip to the grocery store. How does it compare with Pollan’s?

5. What were Super Giant, owner Sam Goswami’s plans for his grocery store? According to Dale Royal, why are Goswami’s plans unusual for a grocery store owner? Did Goswami’s plans for his store ever come to fruition?

6. Why are Atlanta’s suburban neighborhoods more likely to be food desserts than neighborhoods inside the perimeter?

7. “Why can we build multimillion-dollar highway systems and multibillion-dollar stadiums but not more grocery stores?” (par. 14)

8. What’s ironic about where many farm to table restaurants source their produce? OR, Why are neighborhoods in ATL, such as those on the south and west sides, both starved for healthy food retails and also home to “at least a dozen urban agricultural businesses—Patchwork City Farms and Atwood Community Gardens, for instance” (par 34)?

9. What are some solutions being tested to solve the problem of food deserts on Atlanta’s westside?

10. Why is “food swamp” a better term than food desert? What does the term “food swamp” mean?

11. What are the aims of the “Fertile Crescent” project?

12. How did Goswami’s urban garden next to Giant Food aim to address sustainability and equity issues in the neighborhood?

13. What happened to Giant Food?




27 June. The Ecological Thought Post Nature

Featured Image: NOLA Water Treatment Facility Katrina Repairs 


  • 1. Good work at the workshop yesterday. If you navigate to the Poster Assignment Page, please find some How-to materials in the right hand column.
  • 2. Multimedia Studio printing turn around time?
  • 3. I forgot to ask you to put your name on the Google form I sent out for Poster Presentation Preferences. You can have three extra credit points if you present on Monday.


Freewrite: Write a response to the following question for 7-10 minutes without stopping, and be prepared to share your answer with the class:

In a few sentences, describe the local or national development issue/project have you chosen to illustrate the concept of sustainability in your poster. Then, in a few more sentences, explain what exactly the issue/project you chose aims to sustain, i.e. preserve, protect, maintain.

Morton Discussion

Organize yourselves into groups according to the first few letters of your last name, and answer the question below that corresponds with your group number:

Group Number Group Names
Group 1 A-E
Group 2 F-H
Group 3 M-N
Group 4 P
Group 5 S-W
Take 10-15 minutes to discuss your answer in your group & be prepared to cite evidence when you respond to your question.
  • Group One: List some of the ways that Morton defines the ecological thought. Are you ever satisfied with his definition? Is he?

  • Group Two: List some of the rhetorical or stylistic choices Morton makes in this chapter. How does his rhetorical style compare with Caradonna’s? Is one author more successful than the other, why/why not?

  • Group Three: What does the term “Nature” describe according to Morton? Why do we have to let go of “Nature” to have ecology? Do you agree, why/why not?

  • Group Four: What happens to the concept of personhood or the human when it expands under the ecological thought? For instance, what do you think Morton means when he says that “The ecological thought fans out into questions concerning cyborgs, artificial intelligence, and the irreducible uncertainty over what counts as a person” (8)?Do you agree, why/why not? 

  • Group Five: What sorts of artwork best demonstrate the ecological thought? To respond to this question, examine at least one movie, book, etc. that he talks about as an example of the ecological thought. Can you think of your own example(s)? Do you agree with his assessment, why/why not?


Discussion of “Nature, Post-Nature”

Get out the Clark essay and be prepared to discuss the following:
  • 1.What does Clark mean when he says that the language we have inherited to describe the current environmental crisis is “fragile” (75)? How do the words “nature” and “natural” get “pulled in opposite directions at once” (75)?
  • 2.What is the Anthropocene? How does the Anthropocene mess with distinctions such nature and culture or human and nature?
  • 3. What “scenarios” does Clark propose would “avoid the disasters of the Anthropocene” (84) if implemented? What keeps his proposals from being implemented?
  • 4. How does Clark’s definition of nature compare to Morton’s defintion? How does Clark’s definition compare to Caradonna’s?

Finally…How might you incorporate Morton or Clark’s ideas into your poster?



RQ: Clark, “Nature, Post Nature,” (75-89)

Featured Image taken in a disused chalk quarry in Kent, UK.


Keep the following questions in mind as you read Timothy Clark’s “Nature, Post Nature,” 75-89. The questions are designed to guide your reading practices and our class discussions. You are not required to provide formal answers in class or online.

1.What does Clark mean when he says that the language we have inherited to describe the current environmental crisis is “fragile” (75)? How do the words “nature” and “natural” get “pulled in opposite directions at once” (75)?

2. What are the three basic meanings of ‘nature’ according to Clark (75-6)?

3. How does nature function as a condition “prior to politics” (76)? What examples does Clark provide of this assumption? How is the concept of nature, when imagined by governments or philosophers, as a condition prior to politics, ironically, a political concept itself?

4. What does Clark mean when he calls the “’state of nature’” (76) (on which Rousseau and Hobbes base their concept of the social) “tendentious postulates serving to underwrite a particular view of the political” (76)?

5. What’s the trouble with using a concept of nature to underwrite politics—even if the concept of nature is more “ecological” or modern?

6. Are some genres of writing or some sets of terms/metaphors better suited to representing nature than others, why or why not? How would Clark respond to this question? Why is this a problem?

7. What is the Anthropocene? What’s the irony of the Anthropocene?

8.Why is the nature/culture dichotomy “too crude a tool” for thinking the Anthropocene (80)?

9. OR…are the following problems cultural or natural: “eating Danish pork sausages in Dublin” (80)? “A new car in San Fransciso or Shanghi must also be considered, however minutely, as a threat to the snow line in Nepal or Spitsbergen” (80)?

10. How do these sorts of environmental issues mess with the basic distinctions between “science and politics, nature and culture, fact and value” (80)?

11. What does Clark mean by the term “holism” as applied to humans and the natural world?

12. Are we ready to give up the notion that “some forms of writing are more natural than others” (81)?

13. What does it mean to be suspicious of “any traditionally realist aesthetic” (81)? What sorts of literary genres does Clark think work to represent the Anthropocene?

14. What are some benefits to what Clark calls the “end of externality” (82)? How does the series of literary examples he works through portrait the “end of externality (81)?

15. What “scenarios” does Clark propose would “avoid the disasters of the Anthropocene” (84) if implemented? What keeps his proposals from being implemented?

16. Why/how do critics”evade the question of human nature” (85)? Why is this evasion a problem? How does Clark propose we redress this evasion?