How To Build Your Urban Agriculture Library

[This post was initially published as a guest blog on Agritecture here]

The Right Knowledge Can Save You Years and Thousands of Dollars

Five years ago I was considering business school until I read The Personal MBA, and that book completely changed the way I look at the economics of business school while being able to separate fact from hype.

One book changed my life. That’s when I started building my own MBA by meeting new people and reading 25-100 new books on various business topics every year. Since I began that journey there have been so many times where I have had my assumptions completely turned upside down (in a good way).

Having broad erudition at my disposal has helped me make better decisions early in my career.

I recently had an opportunity to interview 20+ vertical farming and environmental business entrepreneurs for a virtual summit that will be live from June 16th-25th.

That’s why I asked this question during every speaker interview:

“Do you have any favorite of most recommended books?”

Today I wanted to share what my speakers had to share. If you’re just getting started, or want to expand your urban ag library, I recommend that you check out the top-5 most recommended books below:

Top 5 Most Recommended

The Plant Factory
Cradle to Cradle
The Vertical Farm
The Lean Startup
Hydroponic Food Production

From there, depending on your goals, I would encourage you to pick up one of the recommendations below to learn something new. Reading new books is one of the best, and fastest ways to expand your mind.

My kindle has been getting a serious workout since I compiled this list. I hope you enjoy…

Henry Gordon Smith

Cradle to Cradle
The Power of Habit
The Plant Factory (must read)

Max Loessl

The Vertical Farm
The Conscious Universe
Cradle to Cradle & The Upcycle
The Power of Habit
Venture Deals: How to Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Your Venture Capitalist

Tinia Pina

The Alchemist
Founder’s Dilemma

Stephen Ritz

The Power of a Plant

Cynthia Jaggi

Conscious Capitalism
The Lean Startup
Cradle to Cradle
The Upcycle
Business Model Generation

Nick Burton

Never Eat Alone
The Dip
Mindless Eating
Ask Gary Vee

Ed Harwood


Greenhouse Engineering
Seeds, Second Edition: Ecology, Biogeography, and, Evolution of Dormancy and Germination
Fundamentals of Plant Science
A Produce Reference Guide to Fruits and Vegetables from Around the World
Hydroponics: A Practical Guide for the Soilless Grower.
Postharvest Technology of Horticultural Crops
LED Lighting for Urban Agriculture
Photobiology of higher plants
Physicochemical and Environmental Plant Physiology.
Soilless Culture – Theory and practice 

Hydroponic Food Production
Photomorphogenesis in Plants and Bacteria

For fun:

What a Plant Knows

ACTA Horticulturae Proceedings
Proceedings from the Greenhouse Systems International Conference

Joel Cuello

Books by professor Kozai
The Vertical Farm

Journal Publications and Scientific Papers
Books by Francis Fukoyama

Rob Laing

The Plant Factory
Books by Derek Sivers
Patrick Lencioni on management and working in teams
The Toyota Way

Chris Higgins

Urban Ag News Back Issues
Books by Howard Resh
Books by Professor Kozai, The Plant Factory
Books by J. Benton Jones Jr on Hydroponics

Andrew Carter

Mycelium Running
Permaculture by Bill Mollison
Books by Paul Stamets

Allison Kopf

Raising the Bar

Amanda Smith

Tools for Titans by Tim Ferriss
The Backyard Homestead

Mike Nasseri

The Toyota Way
Lean Startup
The Vertical Farm
Zero Marginal Cost Society
For the Past and Future
Guns Germs and Steel
The Century Trilogy
Ghost Fleet
Homo Deus

Evan Bromfield

Cradle to Cradle
Let My People Go Surfing
Teaming With Nutrients
Teaming With Microbes

Nick Greens

The Plant Factory

Chris Powers

Chris’s Reading List

Invest In Yourself!

Books are comparably cheap, and if you actually read them, can literally change your life or shave years off of your learning curve like The Personal MBA did for me years ago. If you’re getting serious about Urban Agriculture, I suggest that you give at least one of these books a try.

Each speaker has spent years combing through all of the available information they can find on vertical farming, urban agriculture, business, and technology. So when I get a recommendation from a speaker who’s been in the CEA industry for 10+ years, I use that as a pretty good filter that the information is good.

If a $20 investment can save you years of struggling and hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, then I believe that’s a worthwhile trade.

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