For the past few years, Sacramento’s been trying to boost its tech cred. That’s not easy when you’ve got Silicon Valley for a neighbor. But one thing the Capital Region can boast is deep agricultural roots. With some 8,000 acres of boutique farms and over 50 farmers markets, Sacramento has emerged as “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital.”
But is the big idea some mix of technology and agriculture? Chris Jackson of Rowy Networks thinks so, which is why he created a computerized system for tracking cows. But there are others in the region making the connection by linking smartphones to local fare.
The following list of notable apps proves that innovation can be born right in our backyard. So if you want to support this region’s tech and food movements, be sure to buy local.*
(*The apps are free.)
Good for: budget shoppers and coupon clippers
With this price comparison app, you can save money and time at the grocery store by finding where the best deals are at local and online stores. You can do this by barcode-scanning products directly into your phone or using the item search; then the app tells you where and for how much you can find the product at participating stores. Created by UC Davis graduate Ken Ouimet, ShoppingScout provides a virtual shopping assistant and allows users to share shopping lists, check nutrition facts and find healthy alternatives. The app boasts 3 million products indexed and according to the site, users routinely save 30 percent on their normal grocery bill.
Good for: health-conscious families
When he was 8 years old, Nicolas Come had a vision for a product designed to help kids eat healthier. He pitched his idea at a local hackathon, and in December 2012, released his family-friendly recipe app. With Nicolas’ Garden, kids can shop for healthy ingredients, prepare meals, upload photos, play games and explore local farmers’ markets. Families can find healthy recipes and fun tips to partake in the local food movement one meal at a time.
Good for: would-be minglers
Now, the day’s winding down. You finished your shopping, had a healthy meal and you just went out for happy hour. You see someone you’re interested in, but don’t know how to break the ice. Enter Swiggler, a “social gifting platform” that allows you to buy someone a drink at local venues with the tap of a touchscreen. Founded by Dennis Luong and Narmina Gasanbek, this app is the new kid on the block –– it just went live in April. Not only can you purchase drinks for other Swiggler users or your contacts, but you can also check out live feeds to find the hottest local bars, restaurants or nightclubs on a given night–which should help you make “healthier” choices.
Sick of missing out? Sign up for our weekly newsletter highlighting our most popular content.
Code for America works with cities around the country, using open-source software to improve the scalability and reach of government services. Starting next year, Code for America fellows will work with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments and the city of West Sacramento using technology to tackle issues related to health care and food access in the city.
Users are creating everything from human organs and limbs to handguns and musical instruments. Sales of 3-D printers, including materials and associated services, reached $2.5 billion globally in 2013, according to Canalys, which projects the market will reach $3.8 billion in 2014 and as much as $16.2 billion by 2018. But there remains room to grow.
“Eat local.” You’ve heard the phrase a billion times. It’s the guiding principle of the farm-to-fork movement, nudging us away from the Industrial Food Complex and toward our neighborhood farms. But there’s something even more local than a ranch down the road: the orange tree in your front yard.
The market for social gaming in America will reach an estimated $1.25 billion in 2011, and social gaming startups — which didn’t exist three years ago — will account for about $835 million of that total, according to Inside Network Inc., a data collection firm that monitors Facebook, apps and the gaming industry. Sacramento’s own KlickNation Corp., a Facebook-game developer staffed by gaming addicts, techies and three former Marvel Comics artists, is one such small firm with big aspirations.