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Auckland-based solution company announces hackathon to grow crops on Mars

07 Sep 17

Auckland-based solution company Autogrow is bringing the world of indoor agriculture together with space exploration and creating a two-day indoor agriculture hackathon.
 
Alongside event partner Silicon Valley Forum, the November hackathon will see teams create crop production solutions for the inhospitable Mars conditions.
 
“We believe if you can find a way to sustainably grow crops on Mars, you will be able to grow in some of the harshest environments on earth because, if you can grow it there, you can grow it anywhere,” says Autogrow CEO Darryn Keiller.
 
“With climate change events having a significant impact on food production around the world, we need to look at alternative solutions to feed the projected 9 billion people by 2050.

“We want to set the bar high and hope to get creative, unique and resourceful solutions that can be utilised for crop production regardless of location.”
 
Silicon Valley Forum is familiar with hackathons but this is the first time they have had a focus on the 'red planet'. 
 
“This is an innovative event with a very real and challenging goal and we are pleased to be hosting it with Autogrow in one of the world's most technological hubs in San Francisco,” says Denyse Cardozo, Silicon Valley Forum executive director.

“We are looking for a range of people from programmers to agronomists, scientists, data technologists, researchers and anyone else who has an interest in taking on a challenge to grow crops on Mars to register a team."
 
Teams will be able to create software, data or design solutions for growing crops on Mars.
 
“We will be looking at originality, scalability, sustainability with regards to resource efficiency and whether it can be reproduced here on Earth.

“There will be a great panel of judges and mentors and we are lucky to have the partnership of Silicon Valley Forum who see the benefit in a hackathon geared towards indoor agriculture,” says Keiller.

Established in 1994, Autogrow creates original ideas for agriculture - and makes them a reality.

With a global headquarters in Auckland, New Zealand, and growers and resellers in over 39 countries, Autogrow provides growers with affordable, accessible and easy-to-use innovation.

By leveraging the power of technology, data science and plant biology through a team of software designers, engineers and crop science experts - Autogrow continues to push innovation boundaries to gain results for the growers. 

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