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Food Supply Chain app wins Cornell digital ag hackathon

Published on
March 11, 2021

An app that would maximize profit and minimize food spoilage and loss across the agriculture supply chain was named the grand prize winner in the third annual Cornell Institute for Digital Agriculture (CIDA) Hackathon. The event, held virtually March 5-7, brought together 176 students from 32 teams representing five of the world’s top agriculture faculties for a 36-hour hackathon.

Participants

Student participants, from an array of academic programs, came from the universities in the A5 network: Cornell; the University of California, Davis; Wageningen University & Research; the University of São Paulo, Brazil; and China Agricultural University.

WUR researchers Rik van der Tol en Renzo Akkerman particpated as mentors.

Read the experience of Yasmin Dijksterhuis

'This weekend I participated as one of the 25 WUR students in the hackathon that was organized by Cornell University. This event has given me the unique opportunity as a first-year bachelor plant science student to broaden my knowledge and meet new inspiring people from different backgrounds around the world. 

My team consisted of six students. I was the only Dutch (and WUR) student on this team. My teammates from Cornell were so nice. They welcomed me with open arms and really took care of me. They also all made sure that I would still get some sleep during the weekend. The 6-hour time difference between the Netherlands and Ithaca was definitely challenging (working till 4 am), but it was for sure worth it!  

In the beginning, my teammates and I were unsure which problem we were going to tackle. However, we knew that we had to do something that will benefit smallholder farmers in developing countries in Africa and Asia. Eventually, we presented a solution that will help to solve the locust plagues in Africa. With our idea, my team “Agfrica” won the hackathon’s grand societal challenge prize and we were also rewarded with $1500.

For me, one of the most memorable experiences of this hackathon was the hackathon's network event because it was so fun! Everyone that was part of the hackathon, so mentors, students, staff, researchers, and sponsors could register for this extra event and join. On the day of the network event, everyone came together to talk, and you would meet a new person every 4 minutes on your screen. At this networking event, I had very nice conversations with Cornell's professors and other participants around the world. The experiences I got through this agriculture hackathon are so valuable and definitely memorable.'

Winner of the Grand Prize

The winning team, “I Like to Move It, Move It,” was composed of students from Cornell, UC Davis and Riske van Vliet of Wageningen University & Research. Their idea, which applies data science to the problem of food spoiling en route from farm to market, strikes at the very heart of what digital agriculture is all about.

Other category-winning teams

Grand Societal Challenge

Agfrica – employing drone technology to lure locust swarms away from crops and onto barren regionals of non-arable land.

Novelty

ScrApp – a marketplace that connects suppliers of surplus food with the market for food waste, maintaining the value of food through market incentives.

Data

Sprout – an app designed to accompany novice urban growers in food deserts, from seed to harvest, and lets them connect with their community.

Market Ready

Picture Perfect Food (a machine learning-enabled device designed to prevent food waste by estimating the perfect consumption moment of fruit based on color) and Unstuck Truck (an app that optimizes tractor lending in Brazilian sugar cane farms, based on soil content and meteorological data).