Explanation of the GeoBytes

A “GeoByte” is an activity where we explore some specialized topics relating to the course content.  GeoBytes are to be submitted in ANGEL and will be graded in ANGEL, with the grades appearing in the ANGEL gradebook.  Here’s how the GeoBytes will work.

Readings and responses outside of class

On the weeks of our GeoBytes, you will be responsible for reading a chapter from your text BEFORE COMING TO CLASS.  In addition to the reading, you will be answering three short questions relating to the content of the readings and/or your point-of-view on the material.  There will be link in ANGEL to that online form.

The folder is already active for you in ANGEL to answer the questions at any time.  If you want to read ahead and answer questions, you are more than welcome to do so, but please keep in mind that I will not be grading the assignments until after each due date.  Each weekly GeoByte submission form will become inactive (will disappear) on 8:00AM the Friday of the DinoByte due date.  You must complete the answers to the questions before 8:00AM Friday to receive credit.  GEOBYTES ARE NOT ACCEPTED LATE!

Class discussion on responses

We will review the class responses as a group on Fridays.  The responses will be presented as anonymous to the class, so no one will be able to identify “who-said-what.”  We will breakout into smaller discussion groups and have further questions/statements for debate.

Dr. G’s 2¢ worth

For part of our Friday GeoByte classes, I’ll put in my 2¢ worth on the topic of discussion.  We’ll also highlight some of the more “animated” discussions and develop a take-home message of the day.

How the “grading” will work

I will be looking for complete answers with a complete thought.  One- or two-sentence responses for each question are not acceptable.  Do not plagiarize – you should reference your sources if you take material verbatim from a source, but I do not want to see entire text passages as your response.  Put your answers in your own words. Your final GeoByte grade will be 20% of your final semester grade.  You will have 10 GeoBytes, each with 3 questions.  Each question will be scored from 0 to 3.

  • Score 0 = you respond that you do not know how to answer the question, or you leave it blank (shows no effort).
  • Score 1 = you try to answer the question but show minimal accurate knowledge and/or substantial misconceptions about concept.  You do not use any information from the readings or lecture notes to answer the question (minimal effort, incorrect answer).
  • Score 2 = you show some accurate knowledge and may use correct terminology to answer the question.  However, you do not use appropriate information from the readings or lecture notes to answer the question (partially correct, but still incomplete/not fully answered).
  • Score 3 = you answer the question correctly and completely.  You incorporate information from the readings or class notes into the answer.  You may have looked for the answer outside of the class (on the web, etc.).

You cannot receive credit for not getting your online responses in on-time.  There are no make-ups and no excuses allowed for missing the GeoByte online deadline.


Weekly GeoByte Exercises

These are the questions to answer each week for your textbook, Fair Food.  All responses are due on Friday mornings at 8AM in ANGEL.  Double-check your syllabus and the Google Calendar on this website to make sure you answer the correct set of questions each week.

GeoByte #0  —  based on the Introduction
(1) What is the focus of this book?
(2) Why does Detroit have a broken food system?
(3) How does the author suggest we fix our food system?

GeoByte #1  —  based on Chapter 1
(1) Hesterman defines the parts of our food system as production, processing, distribution, retail sales, and consumption.  Define/describe each of these parts.
(2) President Abraham Lincoln established the land-grant university system.  What is the purpose of a land grant institution?  Do you think Penn State still functions as one?  Explain.
(3) List three of the unintended consequences of the way our current food system is organized.  For each of the three consequences, give one suggestion for how it could be fixed.

GeoByte #2  —  based on Chapter 2
(1) Define and explain each of the following: USDA, EPA, FDA, CDC, SNAP
(2) What is the difference between “food insecurity” and “food deserts”?  How do these relate to the Farm Bill?
(3) What do YOU think a redesigned food system should look like?  Include how you would address the environment, diet and health, and social inequities.

GeoByte #3  —  based on Chapter 3
(1) What is meant by the principle of equity in the food system?  Can equity lead to food justice?  Explain.
(2) What have we learned from Philadelphia’s and Detroit’s corner stores about healthy food?
(3) Summarize the working/living conditions of Florida’s tomato fields.  Do you think equity will ever exist?  Explain.

GeoByte #4  —  based on Chapter 4
(1) What is meant by the principle of diversity in the food system?
(2) What is a CSA?  How does it function?
(3) In looking at The Food Project as described in the section on multiculturalism, what role could Penn State Brandywine play in making the food system more diverse?

GeoByte #5  —  based on Chapter 5
(1) What is meant by the principle of ecological integrity?
(2) Why are organic/sustainable agricultural practices important for the environment?
(3) What are some important changes needed in the food system to ensure future ecological integrity?

GeoByte #6  —  based on Chapter 6
(1) After reading this chapter, do you agree that “an important route to economic viability in the food system is innovation”?  Explain.
(2) Provide evidence/examples from the chapter to support the following statement: “With more people spending more of their food dollars on locally grown and processed food purchased in locally-owned stores and restaurants, the food system could be viewed as a driver of economic development in every community.”
(3) Could you say that Costo sells “fair trade” French green beans?  Explain.

GeoByte #7  —  based on Chapter 7
(1) What does the phrase “voting with your fork” mean to you?  What action does the phrase suggest you take?
(2) Provide clear definitions/differences between the following: organic, free-range, grass-fed, wild-caught, farm-raised.
(3) Based on what you read about Buy Fresh, Buy Local campaigns, what do you think the future growth of “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” will be?

GeoByte #8  —  based on Chapter 8
(1) Why are the terms “sustainable, environment, and policy” necessary in a conversation about “Fair Food”?
(2) Could/should a FoodCorps exist at Penn State Brandywine?  If so, how should it function?  If not, why not?
(3) Based on information from this chapter, do you agree schools or health care institutions can make the biggest difference? Explain.

GeoByte #9  —  based on Chapter 9
(1) In what town do you live?  Outline the goals and mission of a Good Food Charter for your town.
(2) Why is the Farm Bill important to your Good Food Charter?
(3) What needs to be added to their Farm Bill for your Good Food Charter to be successful?

There is no GeoByte for Chapter 10