Manning Discussion Questions

Be sure to introduce paraphrased and quoted passages, use signal phrases and page numbers in parentheses in each of your answers. Time-on-task: 90 minutes.

  1. Before you read, make a list of every food or beverage item you’ve consumed in the last 24 hours.  As you read Manning’s essay, evaluate your own impact on “primary productivity.” Be sure to explain what Manning means by the term and the ways, in his view, our individual consumption patterns affect global resources. In what ways do your own eating habits reflect or refute Manning’s argument?
  2. As you read, make a comprehensive list of Manning’s criticisms of the industrial food production system.
  3. What is Manning saying about the consequences of the way America produces and consumes food by presenting the national-security memo written in 1948 by Secretary of State George Kennen? What ethical problems does Manning’s use of Kenner raise for those of us who’d like to continue eating in the industrial food production system without thinking too much about it?
  4.  What was life like for hunter-gatherers? What was life like for the first farmers? What socio-economic, socio-geographic and environmental impacts accompanied the various agricultural revolutions through agricultural history?
  5. What socio-economic, socio-geographic and environmental impacts accompanied the industrializing and mechanizing agriculture?
  6. To what degree does Manning think eating “low on the food chain” can help balance the primary productivity deficit that would be inevitable if many more people ate the way Americans do?