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O’Reilly Partners with Farmacy Food for Annual Architectural Katas Event to Broaden Access to Healthy Food through Innovative Software Solutions

November 17, 2021

The 2021 Architectural Katas Challenge Brings Together Software Developers on the O’Reilly Platform to Enhance Customer Engagement and User Experience for Farmacy Food

BOSTON—November 17, 2021O’Reilly, the premier source for insight-driven learning on technology and business, today announced that it has partnered with Farmacy Food for its annual Architectural Katas challenge. The event brings together members of O’Reilly’s learning platform to apply group learning to solve real-world problems for a selected organization working for social good. This year, over 50 teams will work together over the course of several weeks to create their own software architecture solutions to improve Farmacy Food’s customer engagement and user experience.

Originally part of O’Reilly’s Software Architecture Conference franchise, the Architectural Katas challenge started as an interesting in-person exercise for software developers at the live event. Traditionally, a kata is a form of training, often in the martial arts, in which practitioners follow a pattern of specific forms to improve upon their skills. Architectural Katas, started by internationally recognized technologist Ted Neward, are a way to practice software skills in a risk-free environment. Now a virtual event, technologists can use this opportunity to practice their skills and contribute to real solutions without spending the time or money required to attend a live conference.

“The Architectural Katas event has empowered O’Reilly learning platform members to use their skills and expertise to affect important social change and provides a safe, hands-on environment to work on real software architecture projects,” said Melissa Duffield, content director and diversity talent lead at O’Reilly. “This year, participants from across the globe are dedicating their nights and weekends to work together to bring Farmacy Food’s mission to life.”

Detroit-based Farmacy Food was founded to address the lack of affordable and healthy food available to the community. By providing nutritious, locally sourced meals to people, including underserved groups, the company is bringing food equity to the forefront. As the COVID-19 pandemic put limits on in-person community outreach, the organization shifted its focus to online ordering and pickup through smart fridges located throughout the city. But with this new delivery model came new technology infrastructure challenges.

To address them and improve customer engagement, Farmacy Food implemented Farmacy Family, an enhancement of its existing system that was designed at last year’s Architectural Katas challenge. This year’s participants will extend Farmacy Family, focusing on a solution to integrate customer information to understand purchase activity, generate analytical data from medical information to demonstrate the benefits of Farmacy Food, and optimize meal selections and distribution to dispersed locations.

“Now, in our second year working with O’Reilly through the Architectural Katas, we’re excited to add new efficiency to our solution to improve customer profiles, food pairings, and as a result, reduce food waste and provide more personalized meal options,” said Farmacy Food founder and CEO Kwaku Osei. “Through better data collection and secure collaboration with partners, this solution will enable us to deliver on our promise to make health and wellness radically affordable and accessible.”

Through this project, Farmacy Food will be able to speed up the rollout of its meal subscription program by 3–6 months by implementing the Architectural Katas solution immediately. More pointedly, this will enable the company to serve hundreds of residents striving to make functional foods a powerful intervention in their health journeys. When compared to the cost of hiring a developer or working with a consultant to achieve this, the solution’s proposed savings will equate to approximately $20,000.

This year’s Architectural Katas kicked off October 20, and semifinalists were selected on November 11. On December 3, the top teams will present their solutions by video, and after judges provide feedback and attendees vote, the winning team will be selected. To learn more about Architectural Katas, visit O’Reilly.

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