Over the weekend the Farm Bill Hackathon brought together (in person and virtually) 120 designers, data scientists, developers, marketing professionals, food policy experts, and USDA employees, to “hack” one of the most important pieces of legislation in the U.S. – the Farm Bill. Over the course of 12 hours, 5 graphics and 4 tools were produced, addressing issues as diverse as support to new farmers, the effect of subsidies on global hunger and how to crowdsource Meatless Mondays.
Four winners emerged from the day with graphics and apps that can now be used to teach about the Farm Bill and related concerns. Final versions will be released over the next few days on Food+Tech Connect. Several other interesting projects were also created and will be profiled on Food+Tech Connect tomorrow.
The first place prize went to “FARM BILL of Health” a series of clean, simple visualizations about the difference in support for fruit and vegetable crops versus commodities in the bill. Designed by Jamie Leo, Henry Lau, Illya Bomash, Peter Krohmer and Trey Shelton, the presentation compares “My Plate” recommendations with government support to farms.
Second prize was taken by “meatlessly.com” a tool to promote Meatless Mondays by allowing people to find, share and submit recipes, places and feedback about their participation. Designed by Joe Merante, Niles Brooks, Jill Peterson, and Ginny Hung the site currently displays Meatlessly.com users’ tweets about Meatless Monday and related health and policy goals. The team intends to continue working on the project. Learn more about their future plans here.
Third prize was awarded to a work in progress looking at the international implications of the Farm Bill and the idea that crop subsidies in the U.S. drive further hunger and poverty in foreign nations. Created by Ashok Parameswaran, Sanjib Kalita, Thomas Levine, Sri Rega Velagupudi, Irena Romendik and Sarah Kalloch of Oxfam America, a demo of the project can be found here
Margie Roswell and Daniel Simon took fourth prize for their ongoing work mapping the Congressional Districts of the Agricultural Committee members. Integrating data from multiple sources, the maps will allow users to see who is on the committees, where they are from, their website and contact information and other pertinent information like who is supporting them financially and what is grown in their region.
Additionally, seven speakers graced the day with their expertise on topics as diverse as SNAP (food stamps) in the Farm Bill, linked data, and “what makes a good visualization.” Links to all the presentations will be available at Food+Tech Connect this week.