As urban populations continue to become more dense and resource-intensive, urban agriculture is slowly gaining in popularity. Urban farms help sustain big cities by providing food, locally produced, and with minimal environmental impact. Our goal is to accelerate their popularity: we want to build a community around a sustainable future.

Climate change action (according to National Geographic) is going to be most actionable at the community level. If we can leverage technology to make it easier for local communities to band together, then perhaps we can make LA, the large, disjointed city that it is, more sustainable and actionable against pollution.

What it does

Gro is a social platform supporting the sustenance and creation of community gardens and urban agriculture.

How I built it

Data: First, we used two LA City datasets to gather data vacant property owned by the city and water supply sources from stormwater runoff. We used Python (pandas) and the Google Maps API to convert natural language in these datasets to latitude and longitude data, processing the database to keep only relevant rows (those properties that are currently vacant).

Links to LA data:

Android App: We used Android Studio to create our app and ArcGIS to visualize our map data using to represent gardens and water sources. The design of the app was created in Adobe XD and uploaded to Zeplin for team members to access and incorporate components of the design.

Challenges we ran into

  1. Searchability of LA City datasets
  2. Learning how to use new software (Android Studio, ArcGIS, Adobe XD)

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  1. Using real, up-to-date data from the LA City Dataset.
  2. Learning new APIs in short amounts of time -- ArcGIS, Android Studio.
  3. Learning UI/UX design using Adobe XD and Zeplin.

What we learned

We learned to navigate esri’s ArcGIS API to show data points on a map. We used this to plot points for the locations of community gardens and water sources. We also learned to use Android Studio to make Android apps. Only one member of our team had previously worked with Android Studio, so we all faced a steep learning curve. In addition, our designer had never done UI/UX design before, so we learned how to use design software and create a workable UI/UX design for a product.

What's next for gro

We are working on adding tools to help the creation of urban farms: in addition to the water supply data, we are going to add locations of farmers’ markets and projections of crop sales at different times of the year to help keep the urban farms and community gardens profitable.

We are also working on building an analytical information platform into the app to help urban farmers "gro" their crops. This will include projections of air temperature, precipitation, and machine learning for picking crops.

We are seeking to integrate Facebook’s messaging and notifications platform to support threads and messaging for collaboration on community gardens.

We would like to integrate CapitalOne’s payment, banking and billing APIs so that farmers can get billed regularly for their use of the garden’s resources (i.e. rent, water, etc.), make peer-to-peer transactions with people who want to purchase their produce, and receive revenue for their produce.

We would also like to utilize iTradeNetwork tools for tracking the distribution channels of the local produce and for inspection of it.

Additional features for the map:

  • Making all of the app icons clickable so that an information window pops up for each garden/water supply area
  • Making it so the information window provides a button to view the entire information page for a garden/water supply location
  • Generate routes from gardens to supplier locations (markets, restaurants, etc)

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