James Stone: Spotlight on Food-Energy-Water Systems (FEWS) Researchers

James Stone SDSM

James Stone, SDSM&T

Dr. James Stone, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, organized an October 2015 FEW workshop. The workshop, titled, A Sustainable Rural Framework Workshop for the Upper Great Plains, explored sustainable rural supply chain problems and related Food-Energy-Water nexus research needs in the semi-arid Upper Great Plains. Dr. Stone took time to answer some questions about FEW Nexus research.

Ariela Zycherman (AZ): What made you interested in the Food-Energy-Water nexus?

James Stone (JS): My recent research involves life-cycle assessments (LCA) of various environmental and food related systems.  LCA is a tool which allows us to better understand the environmental impact of products and processes.  It becomes apparent when conducting LCAs that agricultural production, energy, water, and the economics of these resources are inherently connected. Continue reading

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Sierra Magazine asks what makes a household sustainable

In a Jan. 27 Sierra Magazine story, INFEWS researchers help readers think about choices for sustainability more broadly by connecting them to food, energy and water resources.

NSF’s James Jones explains that, prior to INFEWS, “No one was really looking at this intersection.”

INFEWS grantees Lilian Alessa of the University of Idaho, Callie Babbitt of the Rochester University of Technology and Chelsea Schelly of Michigan Tech give examples of how big-picture thinking can improve our decisions, from light bulbs to lunch.

Read their tips in Sierra’s “Think your household is sustainable?

NIFA funds innovations at nexus of food, energy and water systems

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has funded two INFEWS grants in collaboration with the National Science Foundation. These four-year awards will foster collaboration among research communities and accelerate discovery and innovation at the nexus of food, energy and water systems.

Visualization and Decision Support for Cyber-Human-Physical Systems at the FEW Nexus (Track 2)

Research to Enable Innovative System Solutions (Track 3)

Dick McNider: Spotlight on Food-Energy Water Systems (FEWS) Researchers

In October 2015, Dr. Dick McNider, Distinguished Professor of Science in the Department of Atmospheric Science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, co-organized an NSF-funded FEW workshop. The workshop, titled The Migration of Agriculture as One Path to a More Sustainable U.S. Food Production System, focused on whether or not a planned re-distribution of agricultural crop production in the United States could mitigate future climate-related disruptions to FEW systems. The workshop explored potential metrics and research questions necessary to evaluate the question. McNider took time to answer some questions about FEW nexus research.

Ariela Zycherman (AZ): What made you interested in the Food-Energy-Water nexus?

Dick McNider (DM): I originally became interested in the relationship between water and agriculture while examining the poverty in abandoned agricultural lands in Alabama.  The loss of agriculture in Alabama was due to a lack of competitiveness with western irrigating cotton producers and grain farmers in the deep water holding soils of the Midwest.

Continue reading

What are the new NSF INFEWS projects?

Through INFEWS, NSF and NIFA will support 17 new awards for an initial investment in Fiscal Years (FY) 2016 and 2017 of more than $40 million. The awards will foster collaboration among research communities and accelerate discovery and innovation at the nexus of food, energy and water systems.

NSF will manage 15 awards in four areas:

FEW System Modeling (Track 1)

 

Visualization and Decision Support for Cyber-Human-Physical Systems at the FEW Nexus (Track 2)

 

Research to Enable Innovative System Solutions (Track 3)

 

Education and Workforce Development (Track 4)

NSF invests $72 million in innovations at nexus of food, energy and water systems

To help secure the future of food, energy, and water systems while maintaining vital ecosystem services, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded more than $72 million for fundamental science and engineering research.

The investments are part of the NSF Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems program, known as INFEWS.

“Demands on food, energy and water will increase in the future as a result of population growth, migration patterns and urbanization in a changing climate,” says Roger Wakimoto, assistant director for NSF’s Geosciences Directorate. “NSF recognized the challenge ahead of us by creating the INFEWS initiative, which supports research on these interconnected needs. The results from these awards will benefit all of us.”

Continue reading on NSF.gov

Elena Irwin: Spotlight on Food-Energy Water Systems (FEWS) Researchers

Elena Irwin OSU

Elena Irwin, The Ohio State University

In November, 2015, Dr. Elena Irwin, Faculty Director of Sustainable and Resilient Economy and Professor in the Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics at The Ohio State University, organized a NSF-sponsored FEW workshop. The workshop, titled Environmental Change, Migration, and the Resilience of Regional Food, Water, and Energy Systems, focused on the resiliency of FEW systems in areas of water abundance like the U.S. Midwest. These areas will likely receive migrants as a result of stressful climate conditions elsewhere. Irwin took time to answer some questions about FEW nexus research.

 

Ariela Zycherman (AZ): What is your disciplinary background and how do you see it relating to the nexus?

Elena Irwin (EI): I am an environmental economist studying land use and management in both urban and rural regions. Because land is so fundamental to ecosystems and ecosystem services, much of my work is collaborative with natural scientists.

Continue reading

Catherine Kling: Spotlight on Food-Energy Water Systems (FEWS) Researchers

Dr. Catherine Kling, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor and President’s Chair of Environmental Economics at Iowa State University, organized a FEW workshop, held in October 2015, at the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD). The workshop, titled Coupling Economic Models with Agronomic, Hydrologic, and Bioenergy Models for Sustainable Food, Energy, and Water Systems, explored the challenges for integrating biophysical and economic models to adequately capture the complexity of FEW systems. The workshop also identified key data and cyber infrastructure needs to improve these models. Kling took time to answer some questions about FEW Nexus research.

Ariela Zycherman (AZ): What made you interested in the Food-Energy-Water nexus?

Catherine Kling (CK): My research team is working at the interface of food and water in the Corn Belt. The rapid expansion of the corn-based ethanol industry in the last decade brought major change to the region. We have seen the nexus between food, energy, and water emerge in our own neighborhood in real time! Continue reading

Joshua Newell: Spotlight on Food-Energy Water Systems (FEWS) Researchers

josh_newell

Joshua Newell, University of Michigan

In October 2015, Dr. Joshua Newell, assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan, organized a NSF-sponsored FEW workshop. The workshop, titled “Scaling Up” Urban Agriculture to Mitigate Food-Energy-Water Impacts, focused on cities and their impacts on FEW systems.

 

As urban populations grow, so does demand for resources from distant geographies. It is vital to look at how these emerging relationships affect the sustainability of FEW systems and the related resiliency of cities.

Newell took time to answer some questions about FEW nexus research.

Ariela Zycherman (AZ): What made you interested in the Food-Energy-Water nexus?

Joshua Newell (JN): I became interested in the FEW nexus through my work on cities, which are complex, emergent ecosystems. Cities are sites of resource consumption, and as such, shape food-energy-water flows across time and space. Continue reading

Matthew Platz: Spotlight on Food-Energy Water Systems (FEWS) Researchers

Matthew Platz

Matthew  Platz, University of Hawaii, Hilo

In June 2015, Dr. Matthew Platz, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Hawaii, Hilo, along with Dr. James Elser, Regents’ and Parents Association Professor and Distinguished Sustainability Scientist at Arizona State University, organized an NSF-sponsored FEW workshop. The workshop, entitled “Closing the Human Phosphorus Cycle,” explored the science and engineering needs necessary to ensure more efficient phosphorus (P) use in food production. This included the identification of new technologies that can support the recovery and recycling of P at various points in the food system. Platz took time to answer some questions about FEW Nexus research.

 

Ariela Zycherman (AZ): Why do you think the Food-Energy-Water nexus is important?

Matthew Platz (MP): By mid-century, there may be nine to ten billion people on the planet. Human civilization will have to produce more food for more people with less land, less water, and less fertilizer. Developing low-cost, scalable technology for recycling phosphorus fertilizer will be critical to these efforts. Continue reading