You are not limited to working on products/technology in these areas, but these are meant to provide some inspiration for those who don’t currently have an idea in mind for the hackathon. Also, you can join others at the event and are not required to come to the hackathon with an idea in mind.

Urban Agriculture & Food Forestry

City & suburban agriculture takes the form of backyards, roof-tops and balcony gardens, community gardens in vacant lots and parks, roadside urban fringe agriculture and livestock grazing in open space.

“Urban food forestry takes many forms including public orchards and food forests, community fruit harvesting groups, and urban fruit mapping. The planting, mapping, and harvesting of tree crops in urban areas provides a cost effective and scalable approach to improving the resilience of our cities and communities through improved food security, social capital building, and a wide variety of ecosystem services. It is distinct, yet complementary to, other popular forms of urban agriculture such as allotment gardens and urban beekeeping.”

Water & Drought

After more than 5 years of drought in California, water year 2017 has seen above-average precipitation and snowpack, inspiring many to ask, “is the drought over?” On April 7, 2017, Gov. Jerry brown issued Executive Order B-40-17, officially ending the drought state of emergency in all California counties except Fresno, Kings, Tulare, and Tuolumne. Hydrologically, however, the answer to this question requires consideration of California’s three primal sources of water: surface water, snowpack and ground-water.

“while the surface water drought is over, the groundwater drought is not. How much longer may it last? As a rule of thumb, in many areas it will take as many above average to wet years to recover our groundwater storage, as it has taken to draw it down. And while excess runoff can be used for recharge, California currently lacks the infrastructure and capacity to divert and hold flows like those released over the Oroville spillways for infiltration and groundwater storage.”

Food Waste

Food loss refers to the decrease in edible food mass at the production, post-harvest and processing stages of the food chain, mostly in developing countries. Food waste refers to the discard of edible foods on the land it’s grown, in delivery, retail and consumer consumption with a focus on developed countries with complex food distribution processes.

At least 30-40% of food produced for consumption is wasted each year. “Yet 800 million people are undernourished. When we dramatically reduce food waste, we’re also addressing hunger, harnessing economic potential and being good to the earth.”

Food Sustainability

Local food systems value shorter distribution between grower/ producer, reseller and consumer and often require less packaging than conventional industrial food systems. If a community can decrease the amount of food being imported for consumption, they are more resilient and can focus energy on maintaining local resources in sustainable ways including better care taking of people, animals and water resources.

“Our farmers and ranchers are also stewards of almost half the land in California and are responsible for “producing” clean air and water, wildlife and other contributions to a clean and healthy environment.” However, “California agriculture faces unprecedented challenges to its sustainability. Water, regulations, labor, invasive species, urbanization, environmental quality, energy and climate change head a long list of issues that presents both risks and opportunities for agricultural producers and the industry as a whole.”

We also encourage teams to present other food or agricultural related concepts that do not fit within these challenge areas.