Food is one of mankind's necessities. Because of this, we have allocated the majority of our planet's resources towards the production of food. We've converted 1.4 billion hectares of land, or one-third of our planet's land mass, into farm land. An additional two-thirds of our entire water supply is also put towards food production. And even with all of these resources going towards food, agriculture still manages to produce 1.6 tons of carbon each year, or 10% of our planet's carbon footprint. Additionally, more carbon is emitted during food transportation, when trucks deliver produce from the farm to the store.
Through our love of farm-fresh food and always wanting to try something new, Ceres was born. This environmentally conscious AI was inspired by the Roman Goddess of Agriculture and serves to help you bring a piece of the farm to your own home. We wanted to create a frictionless experience between helping the environment and gardening through growing delicious food as a hobby while integrating our own scientific and algorithmic flare.
What it does
Ceres empowers the everyday person to become a gardener and reduce the impact of wide-scale agriculture. In short, Ceres simulates your garden and provides advice towards its maintenance. Using her millions of years of experience, she will work to provide you tips to let you know which plants are perfect companions for each other. For example, onions paired with tomatoes provide each other protection whereas potatoes paired with tomatoes will increase the chance of blight and cause the eventual death of the two.
Additonally, Ceres utilizes a vast amount of data sets, gathered from USDA, UNESCO, and NCB in order to calculate the environmental impact of your goods. She determines the number of calories of food produced as well as the garden's water and carbon impact.
Finally Ceres sums up the status of your plants by giving you a final rating based on an algorithm which factors in water usage, oxygen produced, and food produced. A better rating means one is contributing more to reversing carbon emissions so gives incentive to goal for a better score. To help a user out, there are that provides tips for better scoring like suggesting which plants do not go as well together as well as a slider one can navigate to see a visual of plan growth prediction and what their plants will look like at which stage.
How it is built
Ceres utilizes multiple datasets provided by the USDA, NCBI, and farming sites to give a "Ceres" score.
We calculate a "Ceres" score based on key aspects of agriculture production — its estimated carbon emissions, water usage, harvest length, product yield, produce value, calories, and plant synergy.
One of the worst effects of agriculture is that produce needs to be transported to grocery stores. Ceres determines each plant's carbon emissions utilizing this dataset in order to determine how much carbon you save by growing vegetables from your own home instead.
We utilized this dataset in order to determine the water waste of each plant. Agriculture utilizes the majority of our planet's water, and so we hope to inspire gardeners to plant crops that require less water.
The New England Vegetable Management Guide gave general yields of produce to help factor in how much food a plant contributes to the overall supply.
We calculated produce value in dollars per pound from the USDA and how much that could help the general person that deals with student or home loans.
Going to the micro-level, we calculated in calories per pound of food produced to help the algorithm understand what nutritional value plants contribute to consumers from calories.info.
Synergetic and poor plant companionship
Plants are complicated organisms. Some have better synergy than others - some prevent insects and improve growth and flavor while others cause stunts in each other's growth and cause fungal diseases. We found from Burpee which plants add and detract from each other and utilized this to provide tips for gardeners.
Displaying the data and plants
Our user interface (UI) was designed with Figma and developed with React. We used Redux to manage application state, which determines the look of elements on the website based on the user's interactions. To simulate plant growth over time, we hand designed plants in Vectary and added textures in Blender. We used three.js to show these 3D plants. To tie the whole application together and really make it look beautiful, we used Ant Design as our UI framework, less as our CSS preprocessor, and GSAP as our animation library.
three.js renders and the 3D models we designed
Accomplishments that we are proud of
Our research on food growth and harvest in coordination with reducing carbon emissions, our algorithm for optimized resource input and output, and our time animated scaling, three-dimensional data visualization combine and are the first to give a user everything they need to understand how simple food growth can lead to real carbon-reversing, oxygen producing change.
What we learned
We're a team composed of people ranging from seasoned hackers (15+ hackathons attended) to a first-time and a first-year hacker. With each hackathon we all managed to learn something new and teach each other plenty of skills.
What's next for Citrus Hack
As college students, we want to make an impact but also do not have a lot of resources to do so. We think gardening is an excellent hobby that yields great returns but also takes a lot of time. In the future we hope that this kind of tool can help college students like us optimize plant growth and be rewarded for the time taken to grow farm-fresh food. We hope that universities would implement a program that provides students seeds to grow plants where they would use this application then when the food is ready to be harvested the students can elect to eat it or exchange it to dining halls for campus food dollars to create a win-win scenario. This application would serve as a platform to optimize this exchange.