The Ohio State University at Marion

"The Good Food Revolution" 2015 common book

The Ohio State University has chosen "The Good Food Revolution" by Will Allen as their Common Book for 2015.  All incoming freshmen on all Ohio State campuses will read the same book over summer 2015, as part of the First Year Experience and to create a sense of unity and mutual learning among Ohio State entities statewide.

A newly developed partnership with the Marion Campus Library will allow our incoming freshmen to purchase the book for less than $2.00 this summer at orientation.  On Monday, September 21, Will Allen will be presenting a keynote lecture on the Columbus campus. His address will be broadcast live to the regional campuses.

About the book

The son of a sharecropper, Will Allen had no intention of ever becoming a farmer himself. But after years in professional basketball and as an executive for Kentucky Fried Chicken and Procter & Gamble, he cashed in his retirement fund for a two-acre plot just outside Milwaukee’s largest public housing project. The area was a food desert with only convenience stores and fast-food restaurants to serve the needs of locals. Despite financial challenges and daunting odds, Allen built the country’s preeminent urban farm, now a food and educational center that produces enough produce and fish year-round to feed thousands.Employing young people from the neighboring housing project and community, Growing Power shows how local food systems can help troubled youths, dismantle racism, create jobs, bring urban and rural communities closer together, and improve public health. Today, Allen’s organization helps develop community food systems across the country.

An eco-classic in the making, The Good Food Revolution is the story of Will’s personal journey, the lives he has touched, and a grassroots movement that is changing the way our nation eats.
Questions to guide your reading:

How does The Good Food Revolution relate to my first-year experience?
You’ll find many themes and events in the book that relate to your life as a new student at Ohio State. During the next year, you’ll encounter new responsibilities, communities, independence, relationships and obstacles. Will Allen’s story is full of life lessons and stories that will prompt you to reflect on many of these ideas, specifically:

  • choosing a career path
  • dealing with setbacks
  • nutrition and physical health
  • passion and values
  • community activism
  • racial inequality and stereotypes
  • sustainability

On the Marion campus
Incoming students should read The Good Food Revolution over the summer and write a paper responding to one of four writing prompts below.  On Monday, August 24, 2015, you will attend Freshman Welcome Day at the OSU Marion Campus. Welcome Day is an opportunity for new students to meet each other and have small group discussions about your common book reading experience with Ohio State University faculty. You will have lunch with the Campus Dean, Dr. Greg Rose, and other staff and faculty. 

Writing Prompts & Instructions

Choose a writing prompt from the list provided below. Complete your writing assignment based on the prompt you select. When quoting from the book, be sure to use correct MLA style citation to document your source. Be certain that your work is your own.

All papers are to be formatted as follows:

  • Include a cover sheet containing the following information:
    • Your first and last name and OSU user name (last name.#)
    • Planned major of study
    • Exploration class section number (check your class schedule on your Student Center)
    • Exploration instructor’s name – may not be your advisor (check your class schedule on your Student Center)
    • Writing prompt number/Title
  • The paper must be typed
  • Use 12 pt., Times New Roman font, double–spaced with 1 inch margins
  • Length – two to three double–spaced typed full 8.5”x 11” pages minimum
  • Papers should be well thought out, with a clear thesis and argument to support your thesis, using the text for evidence. 

Choose one of the following writing prompts as the focus for your paper. Your paper needs to include at least 4 specific examples and citations from early and later chapters of the book.

  1. In the book, author Will Allen says “my father told me that the fate of a seed can be predicted by the health of the soil where it takes root. This is true of summer crops. It can be true, in another sense, of people. We all need a healthy environment and community that lets us fulfill our potential.” Discuss the influence that Will’s environment played throughout his journey. Give at least 4 specific examples from the book. To what extent has the environment in which you grew up prepared you for college? Based on the way you describe your environment, what types of resources or support will you need in college?
  2. Will Allen used the following metaphor in his book: “Sometimes on the sidewalks of Milwaukee, there will be a flower or a tall weed sticking defiantly out of the tiniest crack in the concrete. I realize that human lives can be like that. People find a way to persist even when they are provided the narrowest opportunities. Discuss at least 4 specific obstacles that Will, or another character in the book faced. In what ways did those obstacles influence the ability to thrive? Throughout college, you’ll likely encounter obstacles that challenge your dreams and goals. How will you determine if it’s appropriate to keep pursing a goal or to modify your plans? What types of resources or support will you need in college?
  3. “Community” is defined as a social unit of any size that shares common values. Will Allen was a part of various communities throughout his story. Identify communities that Will belonged to throughout the book. Give examples of how he built community. Include at least 4 specific examples from the book. What specific steps will you take to create your community at Ohio State? 
  4. Cultural competence refers to an ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. Will discusses race and diversity when he described his journey with Growing Power “Children don’t see color clearly unless they are taught to do so, “he says. “My parents never talked negatively about people of different cultures or races, and that attitude was passed down to all of their children.” Give at least 4 specific examples of Will’s demonstration of cultural competence. As you look toward your first semester of college, how will you approach meeting, interacting and sharing ideas with others from backgrounds different from your own?