Including social benefits in assessing the food/energy/water nexus for urban agriculture

Chair:  FEW-Meter consortium  (S. Caputo, K. Specht, N. Cohen, R. Fox-Kämper,  L. Ponizy)     

Short  Description:
The Food/Energy/Water Nexus as a concept advocating the optimisation of resource usage in relationship to food production has been mainly investigated at a macro and meso scale of intervention, in order to identify resource-efficient inter-sectorial approaches, governance systems and policies. At these scales, people are considered in terms of access to resources and participation in the decision-making processes.
At a micro scale, the production of food within cities through urban agriculture (UA) can be seen as a form of food growing that improves the F/E/W nexus, as it is linked not only to resource usage and production but also to social benefits that can, for example, increase food security and build social cohesion. Therefore, in a UA context, it seems necessary to expand the nexus by including social factors and move towards a Food/Energy/Water/People nexus. In this perspective, methodologies for measuring the UA nexus are needed, which combine quantitative and qualitative methods, and are capable of eliciting the interplay between diverse factors. Yet, recent research methods focusing on the assessment of UA stress the analysis of material resources and flows. Behaviours and cultures of resource use to grow food at a micro scale are rarely considered.
In order to support a more holistic and systematic assessment framework, this session asks for contributions to the development of methodologies for measuring the F/E/W/P Nexus. Contributions should focus on the following question: which ways exist to further link the measurement of F/E/W to social benefits connected to UA?
The session invites researchers to submit studies proposing innovative ways to measure the social-ecological functioning of growing food in cities through theoretical or case-study based contributions.