Stanford University
Woman harvesting rice

Food and Water Security

Solving challenges around agriculture, food policy, and water access. 

The challenge of feeding a global population that is expected to reach 11 billion this century looms large. The availability of water—largely used for food production—is also an enormous challenge, made more difficult by the droughts associated with climate change. The School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences is home to much of Stanford’s expertise in this area. With faculty in areas such as sustainable agriculture, land use, economics, geographic analysis, watershed analysis, and ecosystem services and benefits analysis, Stanford brings an innovative and interdisciplinary approach to this tangled but vitally important set of issues.

Meet some of our faculty involved In Food and Water Security

Our faculty are world class teachers and researchers in their fields, leveraging the latest remote-sensing and data science technologies to understand everything from crop yields to groundwater availability and the economics of famine.

David Lobell
David Lobell

Associate Professor of Earth System Science

Rosemary Knight
Rosemary Knight

Professor of Geophysics

Steven Gorelick
Steven Gorelick

Professor of Earth System Science

Rosamond Naylor
Rosamond Naylor

Economist and Professor of Earth System Science

scott fendorf
Scott Fendorf

Professor of Earth System Science

Marshall Burke
Marshall Burke

Economist and Assistant Professor of Earth System Science

How do we manage our freshwater future?

Professor Rosemary Knight explains how amazing new technologies allow us to "see" the groundwater hidden beneath our feet at TEDx Stanford. Watch.

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FEED Collaborative

The FEED Collaborative is an academic program in sustainable food system education and innovation at Stanford Earth.

Looking to work on real-world projects that have an impact?  Check out FEED's classes, workshops, internships, and fellowships.

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Learning on the Stanford Educational Farm

 The farm is Stanford’s home for hands-on learning in sustainable agriculture.

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Measuring crop yields from space

News related to food and water security

Strawberry fields forever? Thirsty Baja turning to seawater to grow lucrative crop

An arid region 180 miles south of Tijuana is the crossroads where strawberries, economics, and groundwater meet. Strawberries grown for export have become so valuable, farmers keep trying to grow more, and are allowed to use more groundwater than nature replenishes.

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Purifier creates disinfectant from water and sunlight

The system could one day be adapted into solar-powered water purification stations for use in developing regions where fresh water is a precious commodity.

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Overuse of fertilizers and pesticides in China linked to farm size

A new study finds chemicals are often used inefficiently on small farms in China. Land and migration policies may help explain why the country uses 30 percent of the world's fertilizers and pesticides on 9 percent of global cropland.

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Warmer climate will dramatically increase the volatility of global corn crops

A new study co-authored by Earth System Science professor Rosamond Naylor looks at what climate change will mean for global yields of corn, or maize, the most widely grown crop in the world. The study shows dramatic increases in the variability of annual corn yields, which could lead to price hikes and global shortages. 

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