While agroecology has roots in the study of food systems, agricultural land use has many direct and indirect linkages to water and energy systems that could benefit from agroecological insights, including use of water resources and the development of bio-based energy products. Although opportunities from the science and the practice of agroecology transcend national boundaries, obstacles to widespread adoption vary. In this article, we therefore focus on the United States, where key barriers include a shortage of research funds, limited supporting infrastructure, and cultural obstacles.
Nevertheless, simply scaling up current models of agricultural production and land use practices will not solve many of the issues specific to food related challenges nor would such an approach address related energy and water concerns.
We conclude that a first critical step to discovering solutions at the food, energy, water nexus will be to move past yield as a sole measure of success in agricultural systems, and call for more holistic considerations of the co-benefits and tradeoffs of different agricultural management options, particularly as they relate to environmental and equity outcomes.