A while ago when I was reading through my graduate group’s weekly bullitin I saw a solicitation for the Cornell Institute For Digital Agriculture (CIDA) Hackathon.

I had not participated in a Hackathon before and it looked interesting so I applied, was selected, and kind of forgot about it until last weekend when I needed to find and join a team. I ended up finding a great group of students from the Netherlands, Brazil and Ohio worked with them on our project proposal basically my entire waking Saturday.

Our group decided to focus on the food waste challenge category with out central idea being an app that would connect food waste medium scale food waste producers like restaurants to similar scaled consumers, such as farmers who utilize food wastes for composts or animal feed. Producers would offer a starting bid for a pickup and consumers could make counter offers. In theory, everyone ends up benefiting because producers can offer below landfill tipping rates and farmers get paid to utilize a resource they normally would in the best case get for free.

Originally, I was expecting to be focused on programming the entire time but there was much more emphasis on business-ish variables like markets, user-base and that type of thing which I don’t usually spend much time thinking about.

Overall, it was a lot of fun and we actually ended up winning one of the five finalist categories, most innovative, out of around a total of 30 teams from around the world and taking home $1500 for our team. I really enjoyed the “do this thing in an unrealistically short amount of time but there isn’t any toxic pressure” environment and it really facilitated connection between everyone in the group. I’m still in contact with everyone I worked with (seen in our team picture below from the hackathon website).