Top 10 Books On The Emerging AgTech & FoodTech Industry
The process of getting food to your table in the 21st century is complex. The digital and technological advances of the 21st century introduced AgTech and FoodTech who bring about a fresh wave of life to the agriculture and food technology sectors. The way farmers and producers approach feeding the world and solving new problems is changing in exciting ways, and we’ve got a list of the top 10 AgTech books to indulge in for those wanting to engage in the enterprise, from an entrepreneurial basis to a grass roots level.
The terms AgTech and FoodTech refer to the newly rejuvenated field of merging technological advancements with the production of the world’s food. This involves phenomena such as using global satellites to monitor farm fields, drones and other tech for smart irrigation, smart machines to manage planting and harvesting, and genetic advancements to effect food quality and consistency. The field is vast and exciting, and the following books engage with the sector from a variety of angles including textbooks, guides, and essays.
1. The Digital Revolution. How Connected Digital Innovations Are Transforming Your Industry, Company & Career
Before we further examine AgTech, we need to realize where we stand now. Simply put, the world has changed a great deal, and if we’re to wrap our minds around how to do agriculture and food in the 21st century, we first need to understand the massive shift this century has seen in terms of digitalization. Author and Silicon Valley leader Inder Sidhu provides a great intro in his book, The Digital Revolution. This will be useful to any entrepreneur or 21st century citizen in understanding how everything from AI to Big Data affects our lives and work.
2. Letters to a Young Farmer: On Food, Farming, and Our Future
Farmers are a different breed of humans. They’re the renowned “up before the sun, and a good day’s hard work” type of breed, and regardless of your role in AgTech or FoodTech, understanding more of the farmer psyche and what drives them could be beneficial. Letters to a Young Farmer comes to us through the hard work of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture and is a culmination of writings from a variety of people in the food industry. It covers everything from farming history, to the minute details of soil quality and the gritty reality that is farmer life. This book is a great resource for a primer into the food production industry and lifestyle.
3. Agriculture: A Very Short Introduction
After the book mentioned above, Agriculture from the famed A Very Short Introduction series is perhaps one of the most useful publications to get a general overview of what exactly agriculture is and accounts for. The Short Introduction publications are known for giving a great intro and working vocabulary to those previously ignorant on a topic, so if you’re just turning your gaze to Food or AgTech this book could be a great place to start. Hey, I can vouch for it myself! I picked up and finished the book on Cosmology with no prior exposure, just for the heck of it!
4. Precision Agriculture Technology for Crop Farming
If you already have a basic understanding of the Digital Revolution and the ins and outs of life within food production, you may want to go ahead and turn your eyes to the application of technology. In Precision Agriculture Technology for Crop Farming, a textbook style book, Qin Zhang elaborates on the uses of technologies like modeling, data handling, and various other technological applications, and how they can be used to improve farm and crop sustainability.
5. The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food
The truth is, if you’re getting into Food, Agriculture, or anything related to the food industry you’re entering a world far more complex than just growing crops. Food influences and is influenced by culture, and having a good eye for these trends can help you make an effective impact on the industry. Third Plate by chef and Netflix star Dan Barber takes on a recent food-culture trend of farm to table practices and evaluates it to make bold predictions for the future of the Food and Ag industry. This book could be a great launching point for the future-oriented FoodTech entrepreneur.
6. The Farmer’s Office: Tools, Tips and Templates to Successfully Manage a Growing Farm Business
Believe it or not, farming is more complex than planting a few seeds, sprinkling some water, and hoping for the best. And just because your business revolves around the most consumed commodity on the planet, doesn’t mean that you’re bulletproof. In The Farmer’s Office by Julia Shanks, the reader is introduced to the entrepreneurial practice as seen in the agricultural and food world, and there’s more than just a few lessons those of us wanting to engage in the industry can glean from her.
7. Cultivating Customers
While tech obviously impacts the production and cultivation of food, it is also deeply entwined in the entrepreneurial side of the practice. Cultivating Customers by Simon Huntly provides 186 pages of great insight into the digital needs of the farmer’s office, and how apps and digital marketing are game changers in the food production industry.
8. Food Technology (Critical World Issues)
The remaining books on our list are intended to open the reader up to issues and problems they may find upon entering the AgTech or FoodTech sector. It’s important to remember that the food industry affects far more than just our local plot of land, and this book, Food Technology, is crucial in showing the reader the global impact and issues the technology and food production merge entails.
9. A Global Warming Primer: Answering Your Questions About The Science, The Consequences, and The Solutions
Among the many world issues food production is involved in, there are perhaps few as critical as climate change when it comes to the future of the industry and the challenges it faces in feeding the world. A Global Warming Primer by Jeffery Bennet is a great place to start in answering your big questions about climate change. From there, the reader will be better equipped to leverage their role in AgTech and FoodTech, to engage in such a critical issue.
10. The Emergent Agriculture: Farming, Sustainability and the Return of the Local Economy
The final book on our list tackles the issue of sustainability in light of the current malpractices within the industrial food production sector. The Emergent Agriculture by Gary Kleppel introduces the reader to 14 essays to get them involved and thinking about their role in the food production revolution that is underway. Concepts such as sustainability are huge in the current AgTech and FoodTech trends, and a wary investor, entrepreneur, or practitioner would be wise to take heed.
AgTech and FoodTech can be complex and a little overwhelming when you think about the responsibility of providing quality food to the world. However, the digital phenomenon of the 21st century calls for ambitious programmers, entrepreneurs, farmers, and anything in-between, to engage the industry in revolutionary waves. Hopefully the above books will stimulate your ideas on the topic, and from there to the farm itself. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates and useful resources.