I am writing an argumentative essay. My topic is local food vs imported food. I want 3 topic sentences or 3 main points. I also want to know the counterargument (rebuff). A topic sentence is also needed, and I want to know what the thesis to the topic sentence is.  

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The prompt doesn't seem to specify which side of the argument that you should take, so definitely figure out if you want to argue for or against locally grown food. There are definitely arguments for or against it. One argument is that buying locally grown foods helps to support local business and industry. Your money goes to support the people that live and work around you. However, that same argument can be used for imported foods. The people that stock and sell those imported brands are likely people that live in your area as well. Employees of grocery stores likely live in town. If everybody bought food from farmer's markets, then those grocery stores are in danger of having to cut employees.

Another argument is that locally grown foods are likely fresher. There is some validity to that argument, but the transportation and packaging industries are amazing at this point, and it is possible for a fruit or vegetable to be picked in one country and appear for sale on shelves in another country within a week.

A third argument could be that consuming locally grown foods is healthier. This is not an argument that I would use because studies vary wildly on verifying this claim. If you are stating that it is better to buy imported, you might consider finding some of the studies that exist that refute the claim that local foods are healthier.

In favor of imported foods could be the argument that buying imported foods gives a person access to foods that are simply not available for purchase from local sources.

Regardless of which argument you favor and what your supporting evidence is, your paper needs to grab reader attention right away. Start the paper by asking your reader a question. This kind of start requires your reader to engage the question and come up with possible answers. That reader is engaged and more eager to read about what your answer to the question is. The other attention getting tactic I recommend is to use a bold statement designed to get an emotional response out of the reader. Saying something like buying imported foods is dangerous might be a solid attention getting statement.

Somewhere in the first paragraph, I would include your thesis statement. The writing prompt indicates that the essay should discuss the opposing arguments, so the thesis needs to alert readers to the fact that the paper is going to do this. Use a double sided thesis statement that starts with the word "although." This will force an argument and counter-argument to appear in the thesis statement. For example: "Although buying imported foods is an easy treat, it is more important to buy and consume locally grown foods."

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The thesis statement for this essay should contain your argument comparing local and imported food. For example, are you claiming that local food is superior to imported food (or the opposite—that imported food is better)? If so, this claim should be in your thesis. Then, each of your topic sentences should contain a reason why local food (or imported food) is better. For example, one reason that local food is better is that local food is fresher than imported food. In between each topic sentence, you should provide evidence to support that topic sentence.

It generally strengthens your argument to rebuff the opposing point of view. For example, proponents of imported food might claim that it offers more variety. However, you can include reasons in your essay why this is not true. For example, local growers can also produce food that offers variety and choice.

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In order to write your essay's thesis, you need to choose one side of the argument or the other - is local food better than imported, or not?

Local food is a large social movement with many proponents. A variety of reasons have been offered for supporting the local foods movement.  One good reason to support local foods is energy conservation. If a food (or any product) is shipped a long distance to consumers, that uses up energy resources. Fresh foods are particularly large energy users because they have to be transported quickly, and they often require refrigeration while travelling. The counter argument to this is the idea that in colder climates many fruits and vegetables can only be made available year-round by using greenhouses in the winter months, which also uses up a great deal of energy.

A second argument often made for eating local is that it is healthier for the consumer and the planet. Large corporate farms are more likely to use GMO plants than smaller local operations, as well as more pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Consumers who want to avoid chemicals and genetically modified foods can do so more easily if they buy locally. The counter argument to this one is that shipping foods allows one to consume a broader variety of foods year round, rather than being limited to what is in season.

A third reason to eat local is that the money you spend benefits the area where you live. More money goes into the farmer's hands, and that farmer pays taxes and shops in the same places you do. This means that eating local creates an economic stimulus that benefits you directly in the long run. The counter arguments for this are rather thin; some folks may try to make you feel unpatriotic for keeping your money local, but that's a false argument. Buying food that was grown in your own country is better for the economy no matter how you look at the numbers.

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