Hacking farming at BattleHack

Previous weekend three current and one former LearningSpaces devs went to Berlin to attend BattleHack, a hackathon organised by BrainTree (PayPal). Because we love both writing code and Berlin.

A hackathon is an event where you collaborate intensively on a project, usually involving technology. Hackathons are a lot of fun and every developer that hasn’t yet attended one should do it at least once. It’s a great playground to try out new technologies. And it’s a good experience to have a clear goal and focus on that for a set period of time without distractions.

Agile on steroids

24 hours to build a product is a good training in product thinking. Which features are essential to convey the concept during a demo? The limited amount of time forces you to build only that.

Onions and beef

This is not about the food during the event. Which was great by the way. We actually made an app to buy food directly from local farmers. Our mission was to help people:

Reconnect to your food. Buy real ingredients from local farmers while it’s still alive or in the ground and follow how it’s grown.

We’re convinced that good ingredients are the key to taste, health and environment. Yet often we don’t know where our food is coming from and how it was produced.

Onion Square is a marketplace where farmers and urban gardeners can sell their produce directly to their customers. Cut out the middlemen!

For the the BattleHack there were a couple of sponsors whose technologies we’ve incorporated in our app. We had to use BrainTree or Paypal, and we could obviously use that to process payments. Braintree launched a new marketplace feature that we used to send the payments directly to the farmers.

When a product is sold we send a text message to the farmer with Twillio, and we use Pusher for live updates in our app. Sendgrid was used for sending confirmations an password resets. Finally the app was deployed on Heroku.

It’s a contest!

Ready to be judgemental! #BattleHack @ Cafe Moskau Berlin https://instagram.com/p/4MH9K6j9DA/ — @theopani

The 1st prize was won by a smart bike lock. Technology wise a very nice hack. My personal favorites where these:

What’s next for Onion Square?

We didn’t win anything nor got any feedback or questions. Yet we’re still very excited about what we made. And so are most people we’ve talked to. So we will start talking to some farmers to see if they think the idea is feasible. And who know we’ll all be eating fresh and local soon!

Interested? Checkout onionsquare.com and subscribe to this list.

Originally published at blog.learningspaces.io on July 1, 2015.

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