The Apps for Ag hackathon, which was spearheaded by Gabe Youtsey, chief information officer, brought software developers, designers, entrepreneurs, farmers and others who work in agriculture to the ANR building for a weekend to create apps to address agricultural issues.
The first place team, GivingGarden, took home $7,500 in prize money, custom rodeo belt buckles and a six-month, top-tier membership to the AgStart Incubator in Woodland.
The hyper-local, produce-sharing app provides gardening advice from the UC Master Gardener Program and enables backyard gardeners to connect with others who want to share their produce. The GivingGarden team members are Scott Kirkland, Josh Livni, Deema Tamimi and John Knoll.
The top three teams will also receive complimentary startup incorporation services valued at $2,200 from Royse Law.
All of the participating teams had about 48 hours to develop their apps. Teams that were interested were offered $500 in “cloud credits” to build their solutions and host them on Amazon Web Services' platform. Teams also had access to an IoT kit to incorporate connected devices into their solution.
The top four teams pitched their apps to judges in front of a live audience at the California State Fair.
The event was sponsored by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, the California State Fair and the City of Sacramento.
“It's really important for UC ANR to be involved in app development because as farmers and natural resource managers face ever-increasing challenges – climate change, invasive pests, the need to conserve water – technology is one of the ways to find solutions,” said VP Glenda Humiston.
“Using technology we can find better ways to reduce pesticide use, increase irrigation efficiency, reduce travel into the fields, manage people better, and deal with the fact that we have a huge labor shortage in this state,” said Humiston, who served as one of the Apps for Ag judges.
The other judges included University of California Chief Information Officer Tom Andriola, USDA Chief Data Officer Bobby Jones, and Better Food Ventures and Mixing Bowl Hub founder Rob Trice.
VP Humiston has announced the winners of the 2015-16 UC ANR Staff Appreciation and Recognition (STAR) awards, which recognize and reward outstanding individual and team performance of Agriculture and Natural Resources staff.
STAR awards allow managers to nominate staff who demonstrate exceptional performance, creativity, organizational abilities, work success and teamwork. The nominations were reviewed by a panel, which made recommendations to me.
Fourteen individuals won awards:
- Steve Dreistadt, Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program – “We at UC IPM, and those throughout ANR who have worked with him, respect and value Steve's integrity and commitment to communicating high-quality scientific information to solve pest problems.”
- Janie Duran and Marci Holmes-Baker, Kearney Agricultural Research andExtension Center/Lindcove Research and Extension Center – “During the past 14 months, they have assisted in the hiring and training of three business officers for Lindcove REC in addition to their many responsibilities at KARE, clearly demonstrating exceptional service and performance. Their organizational procedures have been adopted by the new staff at Lindcove REC, leading to greater efficiency in tracking accounts and recharging researchers.”
- Brook Gamble, California Naturalist Program – “Brook combines a broad understanding of the program with the attention to detail of a copy editor and the creativity of a graphic artist. Brook's insistence on quality, knowledge of the field and sheer volume of work make her an invaluable asset to the California Naturalist Program.”
- Leah Haynes, Master Gardener Program in UCCE Ventura County – “Her work in Ventura County is known throughout the state for excellence and high achievement. Ventura County Master Gardeners are ‘On Fire' with activity and excitement – Leah is a big part of that.”
- Allison Keaney, 4-H and Youth Development in UCCE Marin County – “Allison formed and led the growth and expansion of our 4-H in the Classroom program… The result has been a two-fold increase in the number of youth participating. She has become a leader for the UCCE Marin team by creating cross-discipline programming that leads to broader reach and greater impact for all programs combined.”
- Melissa LaFreniere, UCCE in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties – “Her contribution to our nutrition education team is invaluable, and she is always working behind the scenes to suggest and implement the most efficient way possible to deliver our programming. She is an exemplary employee with exceptional creativity, organizational and teamwork skills.”
- Chinh Lam, Integrated Pest Management Program – “Chinh's greatest skills are his ability to listen to input without becoming defensive, analyze the changes that should come from them, and do the work to make those changes happen. I appreciate his forward thinking and exceptional team and project management skills.”
- Kimberly Rodegerdts, Risk & Safety Services – “Kim has implemented a new program to centralize and consolidate the monitoring and management of background checks and criminal record data… I've heard many comments praising Kim's clear and helpful instructions, her quick response to any questions, and an appreciation of the volume of work she has accomplished.”
- Cole Smith, UCCE in Santa Clara County – “Cole has exceeded the expectations of TAC and UCCE for the compost program by developing a strong and diverse volunteer force and consistently delivering effective workshops on composting and waste reduction. His passion and interest in expanding the program has contributed to its notoriety and success.”
- Heidi Von Geldern, Contracts & Grants – “Heidi is committed to helping our customers and improving our team to assist UC ANR. She provides outstanding customer services. We rely on Heidi for her calm assessment of problematic situations and her directed strategies to resolve them.”
- Aubrey White, Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program (SAREP) – “Her persistence, creative energy, and professionalism was instrumental in gaining us a new website that has garnered positive feedback from our stakeholders for appearance and accessibility of information. She has created communications products that are exceptionally effective.”
- David White, Human Resources-Affirmative Action – “David went above and beyond in collecting and analyzing data in response to a comprehensive USDA NIFA review. He developed creative formulas to improve the required reports, and worked long hours to meet short deadlines.”
- May Woo, UCCE San Mateo/San Francisco – “As a nutrition educator, May maintains the highest quality standards and commitment to excellence. May Woo has been one of those bright stars that has quietly provided stability and guidance to UC CalFresh and UCCE San Mateo/San Francisco counties over the years.”
- Asian Citrus Psyllid Public Education Campaign Team: Jeannette Warnert, Tyler Ash, Myriam Grajales-Hall, Alberto Hauffen, Ray Lucas, Elizabeth Grafton-Cardwell and Mark Hoddle – The campaign successfully helped convey to California citrus tree owners the threat posed by ACP and the steps they can take to mitigate the hazards. UC ANR's Strategic Communications team thoughtfully brought together several key resources and components to execute an outreach plan, resulting in positive, quantifiable results.
- UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program in Placer/Nevada counties: Rosemary Carter, Olivia Kosten, Carrie Yarwood, Megan Thompson, Michele Fisch and Annette Cosgrove – The team has exceeded expectations by integrating physical activity and reaching new audiences such as afterschool youth programs. More than 2,600 low-income school children receive nutrition education, and more than 10,000 adults learn about nutrition through workshops, newsletters and social media.
- UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program in Central Sierra: Wendy West, Gretchen Birtwhistle, Hector Ochoa, Natalie Alfaro-Perez, Monica Drazba, Emily Metzger, Stacy Arhontes and Sandra Sturzenacker – Team achievements include delivering nutrition education to underserved, Spanish-speaking clientele in Lake Tahoe; collaborating with Boys and Girls Clubs in El Dorado County to provide physical activity resources and training utilizing the CATCH program; and establishing a Nutrition Education Partnership with FoodCorps.
The STAR winners received their awards at the Special Staff Meeting and Recognition Event June 16 at the UC ANR building in Davis.