Within the framework of FoodE, our project partner Metabolic Institute will organise two online student hackathons to solve crucial challenges in urban farming initiatives. The hackathons invite young students, based in the Netherlands, to explore tangible solutions in urban agriculture.
Local urban food initiatives are flourishing in cities around the world, providing a unique opportunity to enhance local food security and create short, resilient food supply chains.
Metabolic is currently working on the development and implementation of an open-source aquaponics farm, based in North Amsterdam. The pilot aims at integrating different grow systems and developing an aquaponics management software system designed for inexperienced growers.
In this context, the hackathons will seek to tackle two distinctive challenges:
- The first challenge focuses on closing the local nutrient loop by harvesting nutrients from local urban wastewater and integrating them into greenhouse production. To do so, Metabolic developed a struvite reactor – a technology capable of recovering phosphorus from wastewater. Currently, the struvite reactor has to be manually activated to recover the valuable struvite. The next step in its development is the complete automation of the struvite crystallisation process and the processing of the struvite to facilitate its use as a fertiliser. On October 28th, Metabolic Institute will organise an online day-long hackathon focused on the automatisation of the struvite reactor. The hackathon teams will be tasked with developing a conceptual blueprint for the automation process of the existing struvite reactor and the processing of the struvite.
- The second challenge focuses on the upscaling of Metabolic’s aquaponics system through replication of the management system. Metabolic is therefore developing an open-source aquaponics software with an integrated sensors system. As the software and sensor system development is ongoing, the next step is therefore to conceptualise the user journey and design the user interface and experience. On November 11th, Metabolic Institute will organise a day-long hackathon where the teams will be tasked with the development of a user journey and a conceptual user interface design (conceptual UI/UX) for the current aquaponics software.
The outcomes of the hackathons will be used to further develop the pilot project. The sign-up form can be accessed here. The registrations will be open until 16 October.