AWS Public Sector Blog

California Apps for Ag Hackathon: Solving Agricultural Challenges with IoT

September 8, 2021: Amazon Elasticsearch Service has been renamed to Amazon OpenSearch Service. See details.

The Apps for Ag Hackathon is an agricultural-focused hackathon designed to solve real-world farming problems through the application of technology. In partnership with the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the California State Fair, AWS sponsored the Hackathon to find ways to help farmers improve soil health, curb insect infestations and boost water efficiency through Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. The 48-hour event brought together teams from across Northern California, including commercial, federal, state and local, and education organizations.

The goal of the Hackathon was to create sensor-enabled apps to help farmers do things like track water use and fight insect invasions. We provided credits for teams to develop and build their solutions on AWS. Also, Intel provided several Internet of Things (IoT) Kits to help participants build sensor-based solutions on AWS. Additionally, AWS technologists provided onsite architectural guidance and team mentoring.

Check out the winning teams below and the innovative applications built to solve agricultural challenges:

  1. First Place – GivingGarden, a hyper-local produce sharing app with a big vision.
  2. Second Place – Sense and Protect, IoT sensors and a mobile task management app to increase farm worker safety and productivity.
  3. Third Place – ACP STAR SYSTEM, a geo and temporal database and platform for tracking Asian Citrus Psyllid and other invasive pests.
  4. Fourth Place – Compostable, an app and IoT device that diverts food waste from landfills and turns it into fertilizer and fuel so that it can go back to the farm.

At the Hackathon, we worked closely with many young computer science students and helped them understand the benefits of cloud computing. Experimenting on AWS Lambda allowed the students to deploy serverless applications on AWS quickly. This greatly reduced the time spent focusing on infrastructure and allowed the teams to focus on developing their application. The IoT kits also enabled rapid development and prototyping of solutions. In addition, the teams took advantage of AWS Elastic Beanstalk for rapid delivery of application code.

Working with several states, participants and mentors were able to share information and cross-pollinate ideas, which not only provided value to the development teams at the Hackathon, but will also be valuable to other states in the future.

Learn more about how AWS IoT makes it easy to use AWS services like AWS Lambda, Amazon Kinesis, Amazon S3, Amazon Machine Learning, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon CloudWatch, AWS CloudTrail, and Amazon Elasticsearch Service with built-in Kibana integration, to build IoT applications that gather, process, analyze, and act on data generated by connected devices, without having to manage infrastructure.

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AWS Public Sector Blog Team

AWS Public Sector Blog Team

Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, the AWS Public Sector blog team writes for the government, education, and nonprofit sector around the globe. Learn more about AWS for the public sector by visiting our website (, or following us on Twitter (@AWS_gov, @AWS_edu, and @AWS_Nonprofits).