New technologies have the potential to dramatically reshape the agro-food system and will likely change the way we produce, process, distribute and consume food. From internet-of-things (IOT)-linked soil and water sensors, to drone and satellite imaging systems, to artificial intelligence and automatic production and harvesting systems, to agro-ecological and sustainable farming techniques, to block-chain technologies in supply chains, and more.
These developments hold tremendous potential benefits, in everything from improved crop yields, to climate resiliency, to healthier food, to more energy efficient systems. Yet the nature of new technologies being developed will be fundamentally shaped by who is involved in the early stages. Benefits of technology could be experienced unequally and cause potential harm to producers, workers, and consumers alike if they are not anticipated and carefully addressed. Maximizing societal benefits and minimizing harm from new agro-food technologies will require thoughtful inter-disciplinary expertise.
UC Santa Cruz is well-positioned to contribute to research and development in this growing field, given our long history in agro-ecology and sustainable food systems, and pioneering developments in a range of new technologies. We are in the process of developing a strong inter-disciplinary collaborative of engineers, scientists, social scientists and humanities scholars to expand and strengthen our work at UC Santa Cruz.
The Institute for Social Transformation and CITRIS will help coordinate efforts, under the umbrella of our Public Interest Technology-University Network initiative. Please contact the institute at email@example.com for more information and to join the AgTech Collaborative.
The image below represents the collective thinking of key areas of unique and distinctive strengths in the area of AgTech at UC Santa Cruz.