FEWSION is building the first complete empirical description of the U.S. food, energy, and water system so that every citizen and policymaker in the U.S. can see where their food, energy, and water come from. Produced and Directed by Anna Day and Alex Cornell du Houx. Cinematography by Alex Cornell du Houx, Scott Hamann, Shannon Hunter Thibodeau and Maleah Rodney.
Food, Energy, and Water are three of the foundational resources for human civilization. They have the largest fraction of the footprint that Humanity creates on the earth, and implicates the earth’s carrying capacity. They’re also critical. You can’t live very long without food, energy, and water.
These are really important resources. We have a food, energy, and water economy, globally, where there’s a lot of trade. There’s a lot of exports, there’s a lot of import, and there’s a lot of dependencies. So food, energy, and water are really strategic, they’re very political, they’re very cultural, and they’re very important to us. It’s important to understand those connections.
What the FEWSION project is doing in the United States right now is it’s building a dataset that helps us map those connections. So we know who’s producing the food, the energy, and the water; who’s consuming it; how it’s getting there, and then we have the data that we need, the big data, to analyze that system.
Once we have that map of the network, we can start to observe and manage and improve things that were always invisible to us, right? What are all our dependencies? What are our options? How are we affected by distant events? Where does our food come from? How much of it is local? What are all the connections between the different layers within this system? These are the types of questions that you can answer when you have that entire system put together in one network dataset.
So when you understand how the whole system works, you can target policies that will grow, for example, food production in places where it’s more sustainable and where capacity still exists.
We need to understand what resilience means in a connected world. We need to measure it so that we can engineer and build policies that will keep us safe and help us to be prosperous in this heavily-connected world.
So, measuring the connections and mapping them is going to be very important for community sustainability and resilience in the 21st century. We’re doing that in the FEWSION project.