In just a few months, the US was shocked by a global pandemic and ill prepared for how to respond to this national emergency. During the mandatory shelter in place, many households have been preparing for the worst by stockpiling nonperishable items and are generally buying more during trips to the grocery store. Though it appears that there is a shortage of food products to normal consumers, this is far from the truth. The problem is not due to a lack of food, but rather discrepancies in the supply chain which connects farms, grocery stores, restaurants, consumers, etc.
As restaurants have been forced to shutter their windows, college students have been sent home, and elementary/high schools have closed for the foreseeable future, there has been a significant drop in the demand for fresh produce and dairy from local farms. Farmers have been forced to turn the surplus of produce and dairy into mulch, animal food, or attempt to refrigerate or freeze it so it lasts until it can be redistributed. Unfortunately, with the lack of delivery personnel and sudden decrease in air travel, the majority of food gets wasted. Dairy Farmers of America, the largest dairy producer in America, has been dumping as many as 3.7 million gallons of milk a day, and 750,000 good eggs have been smashed each day across the US. Recalibrating to a change in demand is a 4-9 month investment for farmers and cannot occur overnight. Even at the moment, many farms are optimistic that demand will return to normal levels 6-9 months from now, but if it does not the problem of food waste could continue long into the future.
The need for more produce and dairy is at an unprecedented high as food banks are struggling to provide for a new influx of people that are unable to earn an income during the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, most food banks got their supplies from local grocery stores and restaurants that had extras but this is obviously no longer an option with grocery stores struggling to keep up with the increased demand and restaurants significantly decreasing their operations. Despite a surplus of produce and dairy at farms and a shortage of these products at food banks, a lack of connection between the two groups has prevented an efficient redistribution of food that benefits all parties.
What it does
Through Oasis, our team hopes to bridge the discrepancies in the supply chain among food distributors during the COVID-19 pandemic by developing a web app that connects farms, grocery stores, restaurants, and consumers with each other to distribute food to those most in need.
Users are directed to the home page of our website, which contains the map of nearby food banks, restaurants, and farms. Users can click on different organizations and businesses on the map to find their contact information.
Organizations can make an account on the website and would provide necessary info and contact info. To create an account, users can click on the “How Oasis Works,” icon to get instructions on how to create an account. Once members sign up, they can browse through a list of organizations on this site. There is also an online forum for organizations to communicate with one another and better navigate the website.
How I built it
We used Wix to develop the website and also other built in applications within the platform to incorporate a Google maps feature and online forum.
Challenges I ran into
We were hoping to connect the website to a domain name from Domain.com, but there were issues connecting the website with this domain name. The website builder we used could not support a .online/.tech domain so we had to use the Wix free website domain to house the site.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We created a platform that is easy to use and addresses a key issue that erupted from COVID-19.
What's next for Oasis
We'd love to expand our visualization map to enable users to search up different locations.