Citizen-Led Community Innovation for Food Energy Water Nexus Resilience

Emma Hibbett, Richard R. Rushforth, Elisabeth Roberts, Sean M. Ryan, Kyle Pfeiffer, Nena E. Bloom, Benjamin L. Ruddell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Food-energy-water (FEW) resources are necessary for the function of multiple socio-natural systems. Understanding the synergies and trade-offs in the FEW nexus, and how these interconnections impact earth’s systems, is critical to ensure adequate access to these resources in the future; an essential component for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (Scanlon et al., 2017). Although, over the last decade, the identification of FEW nexus complexities has increased at a global (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC], 2018; D’Odorico et al., 2018), national (Lant et al., 2019), and city scale (Rushforth and Ruddell, 2018), these findings are yet to be adequately translated into “on the ground” action due a lack of technical and political capacity (Weitz et al., 2017). Specifically, local FEW systems have been overlooked in these analyses (Scanlon et al., 2017; Lant et al., 2019), thus leaving small and medium towns vulnerable due to a lack of data and inadequate FEW system management. Building on 3 years of field-tested FEW nexus research in the Ruddell Lab, we argue that participatory citizen science projects, such as our FEWSION for Community Resilience initiative, can bridge the data-policy gaps that exist within local FEW system management by: (1) providing last mile data on the FEW system, and (2) translating local data into evidence-based solutions at a grassroots level. Thus, we present a broadly applicable framework and call to action for local scale participatory citizen science to solve complex FEW nexus issues at a local, regional, and national scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number571614
JournalFrontiers in Environmental Science
StatePublished - Sep 24 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • citizen science
  • food energy water
  • nexus
  • participatory science
  • resilience
  • vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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