The connections between food, energy and water systems are crucial to the function – or failure – of contemporary life. To gain insight into these interactions, the FEW-Nexus has become a useful framework to explain and assess complex, systemic challenges involving resources as well as the larger human and natural systems in which they are embedded.

Although there is no standard definition of the FEW-Nexus, a nexus perspective can offer a lens, or a variety of lenses, to evaluate possible tradeoffs and resolutions in a set of circumstances. This page, curated by the NC-FEW collaborative, provides a repository of research, reports, tools, activities/lessons and other background resources to inform researchers, educators and students alike.

Background Materials

To build foundational knowledge of the FEW-Nexus, below is a list of studies, reports, research and other background materials.

Food, Water and Energy: Know the Nexus. (2013) GRACE Communications Foundation. The "Know the Nexus" report describes how and where the food, water and energy systems intersect, how they rely upon each other to function and how they can have a significant impact on each other. The report also explains the clear consequences for public health, the economy and the environment when the FEW-Nexus becomes unbalanced.

Meet the Nexus: How Food, Water and Energy are Connected. (2014) GRACE Communications Foundation. The Nexus Guide shows how everyday consumer decisions have a profound effect on food, energy and water systems and suggests nine simple choices to make to be more sustainable. The Nexus concept is broken down into easy-to-digest parts to reveal the hidden connections between the systems in the grocery store, at home and in the kitchen.

Activities/Lesson Plans

In order to educate STEM and other students about the rigors and nuances of the FEW-Nexus, a set of links to activities on Teach the Earth or other helpful lessons are provided below.

Lesson 1: Water Resources and Water Footprints (High School). GRACE Communications Foundation. This lesson helps students understand why Earth is considered the "water planet." Students analyze how much of Earth's water is available for humans to use for life-sustaining purposes, and they explore the concept of water scarcity in both physical and economic terms. This is the first of the three-part Lessons for Understanding Our Water Footprint: High School Lesson Plans. (Part of On the Cutting Edge Peer Reviewed Teaching Activities collection)

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