Technology and agriculture came together at theClubhou.se this past weekend in support of entrepreneurial culinary endeavors!
We hosted a hackathon beginning on Friday the 28th, presenting agricultural challenges in need of technological solutions. In partnership with Augusta Locally Grown, challenges were created to specifically benefit local growers, home gardeners, and the network in place for distribution of locally grown food. Representatives from the community were in attendance who provided their expert advice for such challenges as growing food in an urban setting, water collection and irrigation, and how to maximize the sale of all food produced on a farm.
Jim and his children came prepared to work on the home irrigation challenge. Specifically working on the layout for local home grower Candace Zukas of Bottle Tree Farms, Jim designed a network using an Arduino with a variety of sensors to efficiently distribute water throughout Candace’s raised beds and greenhouse using the water collected by rain barrels on her property. When completed with that challenge, Jim and his daughters went to work on creating solutions for many of the other challenges.
Charles Gantt, John Stewart, Chris Williamson, and Ed Elser of CSRA Makers also came ready to tackle the irrigation challenge. Designed for theClubhou.se’s garden, the team considered how their system could be adjusted for a variety of agricultural uses, including routing water to farm animal’s drinking troughs. As part of their consideration of water needs, they included a connection to municipal water to also be used once the collected rainwater runs out.
Annette Arriguci went to work developing ideas for food waste challenge. Many growers sell a majority of their crops, yet some food remains after each trip to the markets. Annette came up with a variety of ideas on how to direct the extra food into the community, the one focused on a “flash sale” being what she will continue to explore.
Eric Parker saw the potential for a big impact in the urban gardening challenge. Many urban areas have toxins in the soil, especially lead. Eric made a tutorial for how to mix fish bone meal with the soil to remediate it. The soil is used as the wall of a raised bed, filling it with healthy soil to use during the remediation process. The process takes two years, at which time it is acceptable for planting.
Following the hackathon, we kicked off the fundraiser! theClubhou.se is raising funds to convert the kitchenette here in the Old Academy of Richmond County into a commercial-grade kitchen for culinary start-ups. This kitchen will enable those interested in developing a culinary endeavor without requiring the sizable initial investment necessary when opening a restaurant or private prep space.
Ruwan Subasinghe of Replantable demonstrated his food-tech start-up of reusable, modular, and portable greenhouses. This enables folks to grow small greens anywhere inside. Ingenious idea for those who want fresh, convenient greens year-round!
Dr. Steve Fountain presented a talk on “Hacking the Microbiome”, educating attendees on the subtle impact of our mentalities and diet on our lives.
Afterwards, folks milled about for conversation and a silent auction of items donated by local businesses before sitting down for a locally sourced meal. Chefs Charleen Tinley and Jonathon Marks prepared an incredible menu of meat and vegan options. Marks even incorporated his homemade kimchi which pleased those who miss Roosters Beak.
Thank you to everyone who helped to make this such a successful event: Grace Belangia and Kim Hines for y’all’s vision and commitment to growing our community; Charleen Tinley and Jonathon Marks for the wonderful menu; all of the local farmers who participated in the hackathon and supplied food for the dinner; Whole Foods for providing food and snacks for the hackathon; Savanna Stephens for managing the silent auction; the committee of Bambi Davis, Candace Zukas, Amy Sutter, Chase Lanier, Eric Parker, Bill Gray, Luke Stevens, Danielle Moores, Austin New, Christina Purkapile, Karen Heid, Zack Kelleher, Angie Byrd, and all of the volunteers who gave their Saturday over Halloween weekend to our cause.
We’ll keep everyone updated on the progress of the kitchen!