Recap: Affect the Cause Hackathon

Carolyn Jensen
August 12, 2019

Our inaugural Affect the Cause hackathon is in the books – and we’re already looking forward to doing it again!

Scroll down for brief descriptions of the ag-tech solutions that designers and makers from Foundry and Conservis hacked away at for a few days in the friendly confines of Finnegans Brewer’s Den.

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Bounty Hunter – Food waste for consumers: What’s in my fridge? App to scan grocery receipts, create countdown clock for perishable food based on shelf-life logic, help consumers throw away less food – also offer cooking options and recipes.

GrainGo – Spent grains marketplace: Home brewers end up with a vat of spent grains after every batch of beer; put spent grains used to make bread, feed livestock – create a marketplace for spent grains used by bakeries and NPOs, keeping it local. Awarded: Most Innovative.

H2Optimize – Water conservation/management for growers: Water reminder app helping farmers track usage, tied to local water basins and benchmarked against growers in the same region – accountability by social pressure, with stricter guidelines in arid climates. Awarded: Most Ambitious.

Trash to Cash – Food waste contracts for growers: One producer’s waste can be useful to others in the ag biz. Foster matchmaking to guarantee that one party’s output can be another’s input, furthering sustainability and reducing waste.

MicroPlots – Urban crops: Better utilize small plots, like boulevards that go unused, to become micro crops – mostly of low-maintenance crops like tomatoes and cucumbers. Map view of crops made publicly available, picked locally by others as needed, reducing shipping and transit. Awarded: Best Demo.

Optical Character Recognition – OCR of delivery receipts: Mobile app to parse text from a photo of a delivery invoice, extracting data (grower, date, crop) to populate and save delivery receipts – good for tracking shipments while gaining efficiencies for both farmers and truckers.

Voice Recognition: App for growers, like Alexa for farmers to help them easily get a summary of their fields, cost per acre/profits, storage/capacity via voice activated queries. Also, voice-activated actions to accomplish simple tasks, voice reminders to start scheduled activity. Awarded: Most Impactful.

WaterMe – Water conservation/management for home gardeners: Improve upon water waste in existing home garden auto sprinkler systems. Beyond turning off when currently raining, track more variables like how hot it’s been, along with historical weather patterns.

We’ll report further on these initiatives should they make it to market, as many teams came away poised to further pursue their ideas beyond our hackathon. Thanks to all who brought their energy and talent to the first-ever Affect the Cause, to Brett Brohl for lending his expertise, and to Finnegans for being incredible hosts. Special thanks to our friends at Conservis for taking this leap with us – and investing in our people as the innovative idea-makers that they are.

Meanwhile, there’s always more social good to be done and we’re open to any-and-all suggestions for industries, verticals, and problem sets we ought to focus on at our next Affect the Cause hackathons. Should we at last solve healthcare? Save the whales? Save Ferris? Tweet us your ideas at @FoundryMakes – thanks!


This is Benke (pronounced ben•kuh). He's a one year old rescue. He's afraid of big bags and loves cuddling on the couch.

- Travis Meyer

Kuri (Maori for dog)

Kuri acts more like a dog than a cat. She once found her way into a drywall resulting in us having to cut through our wall to get her out. She has lived in several countries, and 9 different houses/apartments with me.

- Per Kvanbeck

Flynn or Flynnigan

At the first glance, he may appear a tad dopey, but once you get to know him you see that his charm is that he is a love-able lug that just wants to be a part of the pack and please his humans. Getting up there in years, you will find him asleep in whatever room the rest of his humans are in.

- Leana Stone

Lou and Winnie

This pair of energetic pups love to bark at seemingly nothing. With kids around and a constant need to eat anything that hits the floor, you will often find Lou with food somewhere in his fur or Winnie with the occasional popcorn bag on her head.

- Joe De Jarnett

Nori, Dee, and Janet

Here’s my cool, calm, and collected bunch. This is Nori (a Norfolk Island Pine – left), Dee (a Bird of Paradise – back), and Janet (a Dracaena Janet Craig – right). Despite their tropical roots, they seem to have adjusted nicely to their Minnesota home.

- Kelsey Schwalbach


Cabela enjoys long walks in the park, hunting for pheasants, grouse and crumbs off the floor. She can nap just about anywhere but she is a champion dock jumper. Flying through the air at the ol’ age of 10 just makes makes her feel like a young pup!

- Sarah Bruss


This is Groucho, my adopted stray cat (we checked for previous families.) He started following me while I was walking our dog. We fed him for a winter, a summer, and another winter, and only then he finally decided to let us bring him inside. This is a particularly glorious BLEP he gifted me that lasted several minutes.

- David Middlecamp


This is Jerry. I mean what else can I say? We love him and are glad he is faring well, even while at our Foundry office.

- Foundry Office


Hunter was found alone in the middle of a freeway when she was 8 weeks old. She’s a year and half old german shepherd/chow mix. She enjoys attention more than anything: from dogs, cats, people, you name it, she wants to be your friend. Her favorite toys are extra small...preferably cat toys.

- Mika Albornoz


Meet my dog. She makes no effort to help around the house, and gets depressed on car rides. Her Olympic level shedding is world renowned. When she’s not trying to get me to play instead of work, she sleeps. And sleeps. Her hobbies include barking at people we pass on walks, removing her toys from the bin and evenly distributing around my office, and tricking me into feeding her dinner twice.

- Robert Nelson


As much as I hate to admit it, he runs the house. He even has his own bedroom and sleeps all day on his queen-sized bed. When he’s awake, he wrestles with his brother, but it’s hard to tell whether or not he’s having fun. He also yells at his humans constantly for food when his bowl is clearly full. He won’t eat if he even sees a speck at the bottom of the bowl. You know, cats.

- Ashley Kim


Together with Io and Callisto (Europa's cat siblings) they almost complete the set of Jupiter's four Galilean moons. We Just need Ganymede...

- Nils Hansen

Rachel and Oliver

When they’re not chasing each other in circles around the apartment, Oliver enjoys sitting on laps and Rachel enjoys biting feet. Rachel uses her extra thumb to get an exceptionally good grip to scratch furniture, while Oliver prefers to serenade us in the middle of the night with a variety of his greatest hits, including “Mrreeeeww” and “Brrrrwwoowww”.

- Claudio Rivera


This is Podrick. He’s a happy, smart, and stubborn corgi with a passion for blueberries (and anything that his grandma sneaks him, really.) He prefers humans over dogs, but he’s pretty good when it comes to the ladies. In his free time, he enjoys destroying toys, harassing his brother, napping on the couch and borking at nonexistent sounds.

- Ashley Kim

Emerson and Noodle

No introduction required.

- Evan Kearney


This is Baymax. We have tried multiple times to grow our favorite herbs and have failed miserably... To our rescue is our new buddy, that helps us grow our herbs and vegetables. With Baymax’s help, we hope to have cilantro to add to our dinners!

- Andy Stone


This is Pudd’nhead. She is a #cat.
- Jason Spidle

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Carolyn Jensen

Director of Communications

A veritable communications swiss army knife, Carolyn directs our social media efforts, sponsorship initiatives, and overall partnership outreach. When she's not making the world aware of Foundry, you can find Carolyn almost everywhere else: from the boardwalk of Brighton Pier, to the foot of Burj Khalifa, to that really awesome party at the brand new event space in Minneapolis.

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