Today, in the United States, we waste between 30-40% of our food. Each day, we waste 150,000 TONS of food, and the most frequently wasted items are fresh fruits and vegetables. This problem means that not only are we wasting money on food we never eat, but we are adding to our landfills, putting more chemicals and pesticides into the ground, contaminating our water supplies, squandering energy resources, and contributing to our overall carbon footprint. If we can even recapture a small amount of this wasted produce back into our diets, we can have a large impact not only on the environment, but on our health and well-being as well.
What it does
ProducePal keeps track of the fresh produce items in your refrigerator, and sends you a text if the item is still in your fridge near the end of the use-by date to remind you to use your item.
How we built it
We build ProducePal as a webapp, using Google AppEngine to host the API backend. The interface is built using HTML/CSS/JS, and the backend is built using a combination of Node and PHP. It interfaces with MySQL database to store each user's items. Finally, we use Twilio to send messages to the user when their produce should be used.
Challenges we ran into
This is the first time we used Twilio and Google Cloud so we had to figure out how it all connected with our project.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are really proud that ProducePal is an app that can improve people's lives in practical ways and have a positive affect on the environment. We are also proud that we are learning new APIs such as Twilio and Google Cloud to add to our skill set and get better as developers.
What we learned
We learned about app design, how to use Twilio and Google Cloud, using Node.js for the backend, and how to interact with the database.
What's next for ProducePal
We would like to add the ability to either add items into a Fridge by scanning package barcodes or by taking a picture of the item and then using a photo identifier. We would also like to add suggestions for recipes that would use up the produce.