Cart 0

A jug of milk


Product ID: 8220 Category: .

A jug of milk

In this paper, you will produce a comparative commodity chain analysis that compares and contrasts two ways of producing one of the products listed below and analyzes the reasons for those similarities and differences. This will require you to do your own research by reading product labels, using the “Library Tools” tab on D2L, visiting the UA library, referring to academically trustworthy sites on the Internet, and perhaps even making phone calls to contact people or companies.

Step 1

Choose one of the following items and two ways of producing that product to compare:

  • A tomato: conventional, organic, hothouse, local/CSA.
  • A packaged salmon fillet: wild, farmed.
  • A bag of shrimp: wild, farmed.
  • An ear of corn: conventional, organic, local/CSA.
  • A bottle/can of beer: conventional, craft/microbrew, different styles.
  • Spinach: conventional, organic.
  • A cut of beef: conventional/CAFO, organic, local.
  • A jug of milk: conventional, organic, local
  • A chocolate bar: organic, fair trade, conventional

*Note:  If there is a product that you are particularly interested in that is NOT listed here, please discuss your interests with your section leader to see if it might be a suitable topic.

 Step 2

The Goal of the Paper: Use our Module 2 concepts to 1) describe one commodity chain in detail, and 2) explain reasons for the similarities and differences between that chain and an alternative way of producing that good. (For example, if “apple” were an option, I might begin by describing the commodity chain for a mass-produced apple sold at Safeway and analyze the similarities and differences between that chain and one for an apple grown in Wilcox, AZ and sold at a local farmers’ market.)

Accomplish your comparative analysis by focusing on the following points:

  • What primary products went into the making of your final good? Where were those inputs sourced and what processes did they have to go through to create the final product? (Don’t forget to discuss the packaging your item comes in, additives it may contain, etc.)
  • Where was the product produced?  Why did the producer choose to locate there and how does this choice of location tie into other parts of the chain (such as the use of labor and capital, environmental impacts, marketing strategies, etc.)?
  • How are different steps in the commodity chain linked through different modes and routes of transportation? Explain why the steps linked in this particular way using Module 2 concepts.
  • What sort of labor was involved in each step of the process? As you write, think about working conditions, salary, and the reason that the particular labor source you identified was chosen.
  • Who are the intended consumers of the product? Why and how do you know?
  • What information is easily available about the product?  Is it “certified”?
  • What sorts of externalities might be involved?

A good analysis will present conclusions that are based on well-supported reasoning. This means that if you cannot find specific, definitive information on one part of the commodity chain, it will be your responsibility as a researcher to offer your reader an “educated guess” and give pieces of evidence to show why you think your suggestion could be correct. 

Step 3

Since this paper will require research, you must use academically appropriate sources and cite each one (in text and at the end of the paper in a bibliography).

After each entry in the bibliography, you must provide a short explanation (~2 sentences for each source) explaining why you chose to use it. If you are having trouble deciding what is a reliable academic source and what is not acceptable, refer to the following resources:

After your bibliography, briefly (3-4 sentences) describe how the mix of sources you chose to use was appropriate and how it might have influenced your findings.

Note that this reflection on the sources that you’ve used is part of the grade for this paper.


Title; a jug of milk

length; 4 pages (1100 words)

style; APA