At openNASA, we fulfill our mission by helping you pursue your own.
For the USDA, this mission included raising awareness about the viability of hyper-local agriculture, specifically in but not limited to the United States. They accomplished this by creating the Backyard Poultry Farmer challenge. The concept was simple: by promoting localized agriculture - such as a chicken farm in one’s backyard - the USDA hoped to revolutionize a system in which healthier food would become more viable to greater numbers of people. The challenge had thus been set, and all they needed now was a team that would champion it, the pioneers to give it the renown it deserved.
Enter Bulgaria with the ChicksBook team.
The story of ChicksBook begins with a company called ISG Technology. In the summer of 2012, Atanas Keranov began work at ISG Tech as a junior net developer, where he met Pavel Kolev, a two-year veteran of the company and fellow net developer. Hitting it off, the pair decided to test their new-found creative chemistry by entering in a Bulgarian programming competition organized by Telerik Academy and PC Magazine, as the two-person team KeyDown. KeyDown went on in that competition to win two out of the three rounds they competed in.
Coming fresh from this successful run, Keranov and Kolev decided to try their hands at Space Apps 2013. However, they knew from their experience in the Bulgarian competition that they needed specialists on the graphic design and web development front if they were to successfully create their app in time. So, the duo opened up their team to the applications of any graphic designer who shared their enthusiasm for the concept of Space Apps and their willingness to work almost for free. Thus, they found Stoyan Ivanov, who ended up participating in the challenge only virtually. However, this did not stop Ivanov later from almost single-handedly creating the design for the ChicksBook website and app in just two days.
To ensure that they would have a working model online by the end of the challenge, Keranov and Kolev called in Ivan Zhekov, a web developer who they knew could push their project to completion. Kiril Nikolov, already a friend to Keranov and Kolev, was known to both men as a superb source of enthusiasm and positivity; this, coupled with his hand for development, made him the essential ingredient to the formation of what was soon to be the ChicksBook team. Thus assembled, they struck off to conquer Space Apps Sofia.
Now, the only matter was to pick a challenge. Luckily for the team, this was not as difficult as expected.
The Backyard Poultry Farmer challenge almost immediately caught they guys’ eyes - why on earth were chickens important to NASA? But after a bit of investigation, they realized this challenge was the one for them. In Bulgaria, local agriculture is far more common than in the US. In fact, most of the team members have grandparents in Bulgaria who actually raise chickens in their backyards. Using this cultural relevancy, they found a way to help both their community and the world by creating a platform that addresses the practical challenges and applications of raising poultry. They created their app using an API that allows for both Android and iOS mobile applications. The team remains grateful to Telerik Academy for their extensive support in helping gain knowledge and experience in software development.
So, can I add you on ChicksBook?