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Beneficial Information in School Bus Farmer’s Market Article

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Rhetorical Analysis of Katherine Gustafson’s

“School Bus Farmer’s Market”

D.C. based journalist and writer, Katherine Gustafson, uses pathos and includes many valid arguments while talking about sustainability and the importance of eating locally, which is in one of her many articles, “School Bus Farmer’s Market”. As we learned, sustainability as a whole is doing things in such a way as to be able to preserve resources instead of diminishing them. Gustafson does an excellent job with structuring her arguments and providing an insight to us readers. Gustafson mentions that, “eating locally is the sacred cow of the sustainable food movement” (657). The main purpose and concrete argument she is trying to make is that we must have a food economy that isn’t personally against corporate ties but isn’t completely of all small businesses as well. Gustafson briefly talks about the realistic way of how food is brought to the table and touches on a small business that brings farm fresh food to the city.

In the beginning of the article, Gustafson brings us along on her journey to Richmond, Virginia where she finds herself on a “voyage of discovery”. She is searching for what positive transformations are occurring around the world. Mark Lilly, a farmer who Gustafson went to visit and assess, carries an unusual business. This business established by Lilly and his family consists of him turning a school bus into a locally sourced grocery store. As Lilly mentions, running a business is not as easy as everyone would presume, especially if it is sustainable. You must always be offering something more special, appealing, and different than your competitors as well as good pricing. Another important qualification of a sustainable food business would be to ensure that every customer feels that they are the most important clients.

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Mark Lilly got the idea for his business enterprise after having an epiphany about the real life issues of the industrial food industry from a master’s program in disaster science and emergency management. Mark is an avid believer in eating fresh, organic, local, whole grown food and goes down to say that it all “boils down to money”. Lilly claims that, ““What corporations do is they want to make as much money as they can and exploit anything in their path to get that done. These lobbyists and players in Washington — the government makes laws to benefit them, not to benefit the people.” For a guy engaged in such a creative and optimistic business endeavor, he exuded a surprisingly intense sense of outrage.” (657). In the middle of the argument, when Lilly is ranting, Gustafson shares his characteristics, which, allow us to get a sense of how passionate he is. This passion and ambition is a clever way to get an argument across because it resonates with people reading and we start gaining a more trusting and admiring feel for Lilly and the points he is trying to make. As Gustafson states, this is an example of an organization and business that perfectly represents a sustainable food system in America.

Katherine Gustafson uses the pathos appeal by sharing a story, vivid language, and sharing personal insight from Lilly and his family as her rhetorical strategy. We share her feelings and the emotional tone she puts out as she mentions that she still has her doubts regarding the situation at first. “I still had my doubts about whether all those little guys farming their hearts out on their one-, five-, and twenty-acre parcels and dragging their wares to the farmers’ market every week could feed our country effectively, but logic had it that they were doing vital work to keep our country from inexorably being taken over part and parcel by corporate food concerns” (657). Her method is effective because I believe that the pathos appeal is the most widely appeal to all audiences. Readers always want to know about real life human experiences and what others surmise of a topic before reacting to it themselves. Her purpose is to open our eyes by sharing real life views and tales from farmers themselves about a food revolution from food visionaries we can trust.

Although Gustafson encourages society to eat locally while stating the benefits, the article is not entirely persuasive in itself. She is not completely against corporation as a whole and mentions how hard it is to start a business like Mark Lilly. Gustafson goes on to mention that, “A company like Mark’s — especially one expanded and able to run efficiently at a larger scale — can play an important role as part of a network of businesses and nonprofits offering a variety of alternatives, the presence of which alone makes for a more sustainable local community” (657). Here, Gustafson is giving a positive outcome of what a sustainable food system can entail. Even though this is not necessarily a statistic, readers can still clearly see the results being shown.

Despite, the lack of supporting statistics, Gustafson’s essay is effective because she appeals to American’s desire to eat healthier and opens their eyes to a sustainable food system. Overall, Gustafson perfectly argues that farm fresh food is a tricky but rewarding way of maintaining a sustainable food environment. Her use of rhetorical strategies tie in perfectly and although she could have used some more statistical information along with her proof, we still trust her and gain a lot of knowledge from the facts provided by Lilly and other food connoisseurs themselves. Despite, the lack of supporting statistics, Gustafson’s essay is effective because she appeals to American’s desire to eat healthier and opens their eyes to a sustainable food system. From reading this article we see Gustafson’s rhetorical tools being put in use and the case being made. Readers gain a lot of beneficial information and may now start to think differently about the food they are consuming and what it consists of due to Gustafson’s clever ways of introducing a sustainable food system and what it entails.

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