There has been a lot of discussion around a hackathon to be collocated with the 2015 GODAN Workshop during the preparations and organization of the workshop itself. I was happy to be personally involved in the planning/organization of the workshop with a great team of people from USDA, DFID (UK), CABI, FAO and CGIAR, among others and the discussion on related hackathons and other satellite events on open agri-food data was on the table. What I had in my hands was the potential contribution from our two FP7 projects activated in this field; agINFRA and SemaGrow (Agro-Know being an active partner in both), as well as the support from the rest of the team. Both projects aim to solve agri-food data-related issues and had previous experience in the organization and deployment of related hackathons, making use of publicly available data sources and contributing their APIs and stacks. The only thing I had to do was to organize what was there and pull some strings, on top of finding the right team to actually implement it.
Thanks to the great support and planning/organization from Anne Bruinsma and the rest of the PolderHack Productions team as well as Alterra (one of the research institutes of the Wageningen University and Research Centre – Wageningen UR), which was host and co-organiser of both the Future Food Hackathon and the GODAN conference (and especially our long-time friend Rob Knapen) who actually organized the Hackathon and put all available resources in place, the hackathon was materialized in the form of Future Food Hack 2015, a hackathon with not one, nor two but six (6) challenges! The local community responded to the call of the local organizers and this led to an event beyond our expectations 🙂
The contribution of Agro-Know at this point was in both the setup of the hackathon (through numerous emails and discussions) also aiming to ensure the connection between the hackathon and the main GODAN Workshop, as well as the preparation of one of the challenges; the one on Food Safety. The Agro-Know team reused it experience from previous hackathons and made use of tools, methodologies and other stuff from both agINFRA (two agINFRA-powered APIs) and SemaGrow (the SemaGrow stack/SPARQL endpoint) as well as quality data sources on food safety. Our colleague Charalampos Thanopoulos was there and represented the envisaged Food Safety challenge.
The Hackathon was really well-organized and consisted of people passionate on its topics and in fact, the team which worked on the Food Safety Challenge got the 3rd place!
— Casper Koomen (@casperkoomen) January 20, 2015
The best overview of this hackathon is this lovely short clip prepared by Thomas Bouwman. You can also check out Twitter and the #FFH15 hashtag for checking out what has actually happened during the hackathon.
From our side we would like to thank everyone who worked on this Hackathon and made it possible, despite all limitations, and congratulate both the winning teams and all the participants! In Agro-Know, we are doing our small part in helping open up agri-food data and we were glad to see this event getting this kind of engagement and attention from everyone 🙂