For 48 hours on June 21-23, over 250 food industry leaders, entrepreneurs, technologists and creatives convened at Hack//Meat Silicon Valley, a hackathon to develop hardware and software solutions to some of the greatest challenges facing sustainable meat production and consumption. The three-day event was held at the Institute of Design at Stanford, and was organized by Food+Tech Connect in partnership with Applegate and GRACE Communications Foundation.

The hackathon's 24 teams tackled sustainable meat industry challenges including access to farmland, food labeling, whole animal utilization, and the unique flavor profile of grassfed meat. They pitched their final prototypes to an expert panel of judges including Michiel Bakker of Google's Global Food Services, Bill and Nicolette Niman of Niman Ranch & BN Ranch, Niko Hrdy of Valley Oak Investments, Amol Deshpande of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Chris Cosentino of Incanto and Anya Fernald of Belcampo Meat Co.

Winners were awarded prizes representing more than $125,000 in value, including cash and consulting services from industry leaders to help them continue development of their prototypes.

Winning Hacks:

  • Grand Prize Winne: FarmStacker, an eHarmony or AirBnb-like tool that connects young farmers to land and capital.
  • Best Business: Cow Share With Us, a purchasing platform that facilitates group buying of whole animals.
  • Best Social Good: Buyotic, a mobile app that helps consumers shop their values by locating antibiotic-free chicken and make pledges to purchase it.
  • Best Use of Technology: Agent Yum, a Google glass application that allows shoppers to scan food products in the grocery store to deliver GMO and antibiotic ratings.
  • Best Design: Beefopedia, a web-based portal that educates consumers on and celebrates the qualities of heritage beef.

Teams were coached by 56 industry mentors including Stephen McDonnell, CEO of Applegate , Mitchell Davis, VP of the James Beard Foundation and Matthew Rothe, co-founder of the FEED Collaborative at Stanford

Butchers Ryan Farr and Kent Schoberle from 4505 Meats conducted a live butchery demo, breaking down a quarter of beef from a grass-fed cow raised in Oregon that had been slaughtered earlier that week and donated by Estancia. Lucky participants got to take the meat home with them.

In keeping with the theme, attendees were fueled all weekend long by delicious, sustainable food and drink, including a nose-to-tail dinner provided by Google's Food Team featuring a spit-roasted pork tasting and pig ear pizzettas.

"There has never been more interest in sustainable meat production, but the challenges of scaling it to the population are huge. We've been so lucky to find partners like GRACE Communications Foundation and Applegate that share our vision for bringing people from different disciplines together to address these challenges and build a better future for food." says Danielle Gould, founder of Food+Tech Connect and event organizer.

This is the second Hack//Meat Food+Tech Connect has produced in partnership with Applegate and GRACE Communications Foundation. The first, held in New York City this past December, gathered over 150 hackers and resulted in 12 new projects, several of which are continuing development. 

For more information visit Hack//Meat, Twitter (hashtag #hackmeat), or Facebook.

Source: Food + Tech Connect