Allia Serious Impact to host >sudo : grow hackathon in partnership with Agri-Tech East 7-8 April 2018

The code-breakers of Bletchley Park were arguably the originators of the hackathon; the Allies were losing the war and drastic measures were needed. Talented people from different disciplines were given a clearly articulated problem and asked to come up with a solution. Using a mixture of engineering, linguistics and algorithms they cracked the Enigma Code and the rest is history.

To accelerate innovation in the agri-food industry, a similar approach is being taken by Allia, who have partnered with Agri-Tech East to host the first >sudo : grow hackathon. The 48-hour hackathon is being delivered by Cambridge Applied Research and is to take place at the Allia Future Business Centre on the weekend of the 7-8th April 2018.

The hackathon aims to bring together people with knowledge and expertise in the fields of technology and applied science with the aim of solving critical issues proposed by experts from the agri-food industry.

At the end of the weekend, it is anticipated that a number of innovative concepts will emerge with the potential to be developed further into business ideas.

The agri-food industry is faced with a number of considerable challenges –productivity rates, increasing environmental pressures and growing demand for low-priced nutritious food – that have the potential to be transformed by digital technologies.

Agri-Tech East believes that we now have a perfect storm for innovation.

The issues include:

Making food systems consumer-centric – many food crops such as herbs, fruit, salads, and summer vegetables are highly perishable, labour intensive and demand can vary with weather conditions. Cutting food miles by bringing production closer to the centres of population will reduce waste in the system and deliver fresher food. The challenge is how to integrate food product within smart cities, making use of undercover and vertical spaces.

Balancing performance with animal welfare – feed makes up 65 per cent of the costs of poultry production. Under optimal temperature and other conditions the birds will convert the feed to meat, but if they are too cold the energy will be used to generate heat. The challenge is how to monitor the birds and manage conditions to improve performance.

Weed and pest control in a post-chemical world – many of the chemicals used for pest control are now being withdrawn from use on environmental grounds. This is creating an opportunity for other control methods such as barrier protection, laser hoes, robotic weeders… or something else. The challenge is to develop a way of protecting crops cost-effectively.


For more information about the first >sudo : grow hackathon visit their website, using the link on the right hand side.