Models of Resilient Food and Water Systems

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Research Group: Resilient Food and Water Systems in Practice

Focus of Our Research

This analytical lens focuses on developing new theoretical, conceptual, numerical and practical knowledge on the processes which confer either system resilience or instability. Such transdisciplinary knowledge also underpins the development of individual technologies (e.g. biochar for carbon sequestration) or as components of larger systems (e.g. water systems), as well as the resilience potential of whole systems and their communities in rural and urban settings (e.g. circular systems that combine food and energy production with water and waste management).

Individual technologies and techniques are based on principles of agroecology, hydrology, and eco-mimicry, that will ensure effectiveness in terms of productivity, nutritional security and ecosystems health. Such techniques include carbon farming to mitigate climate change, eco-intensification, energy efficient agriculture,  evolutionary plant breeding, rainwater harvesting, agroforestry, permaculture, organic and biodynamic production techniques.

Individual and whole systems are developed as appropriate for stabilisation situations, - that is to enhance the ability of agriculture and water management to withstand and respond to natural and man made disasters. This includes re-establishing agriculture and access to water after human-induced or natural disasters, sustainable management of abiotic stresses in agriculture such as drought, salinity, contaminated land and climate change, and sustainable management of biotic stresses in agriculture, such as invasive plant species or insect plagues.

By bringing together action and reflection, theory and practice, our research in this area will uniquely include water users, food providers (farmers, pastoralists, indigenous peoples, peri-urban farmers etc.) and other citizens in defining research objectives and co-constructing a solid body of resilience science and practice. This direct public engagement in research is essential in a context of rapid change and uncertainty in which collective intelligence and collective problem-solving are increasingly needed to develop resilient food and water systems.

Theme lead contact

If you wish to find out more about this theme, please get in contact with Julia Wright