Green Plate wins Rep. Donald Norcross’ 2022 Congressional App Challenge in New Jersey’s First District

Rep. Donald Norcross has named Sophia Liu, an 11th Grader at Cherry Hill High School East, as the winner of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in New Jersey’s First District.

When asked what inspired the creation of Green Plate, the student said, ”I was inspired to create Green Plate to combat food waste, a prevalent issue. According to a study published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, the average American household wasted 31.9% of its food. Furthermore, the annual cost of this wasted food was estimated to be $1,866 per household – that accumulates to a total of $240 billion worth of food waste in the US.

Food waste is not only a major issue because of the loss of food and money, but also because of its negative impact on the environment. When food is wasted, all of the energy, water, and resources used to produce and transport it is also wasted. Furthermore, when food goes to the landfill and eventually rots, it produces methane, which is a greenhouse gas that is even more potent than carbon dioxide. In fact, solid waste landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the US, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

In addition, in my own personal experience, I noticed that my family sometimes had to throw our produce or dairy products away simply because they expired before we ever got around to incorporating them into a meal or because we never found a good recipe to use it in. I wanted to create an app that would help families like my own be more aware of how much food we were purchasing and be more mindful about our meal planning. In this way, we would be able to be economical and efficient with our food and help play our role in decreasing food waste worldwide.”

The Congressional App Challenge smashed previous participation records in 2022. All told, 9,011 students registered for this year’s competition – creating 2,707 fully-functioning apps for 335 Members of Congress across 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the District of Columbia. This year’s competition set the record for most student registrations, most apps submitted, most apps per district submitted, and most districts receiving over 20 apps. The wildly successful competition continues to impress upon House Members the importance of computer science education and the need to develop a pipeline of diverse, domestic STEM talent.

The Congressional App Challenge is an official initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Members of Congress host contests in their districts for middle school and high school students, encouraging them to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science. Each participating Member of Congress selects a winning app from their district, and each winning team is invited to showcase their winning app to Congress during our annual #HouseOfCode festival. The program is a public-private partnership made possible through funding from Omidyar Network, AWS, Rise, theCoderSchool, Apple, and others.

The 2023 Congressional App Challenge will launch in June of 2023, and eligible students can pre-register for the competition now.