PhD, Geography, University of Maryland, College Park
MA, Geography, Boston University
BA, Geography, Boston University
Nathan Morrow, PhD. is a Research Associate Professor in IHSD and has taught a summer institute on Food Security and Resilience in Italy for 15-years. His research leverages geospatial tools for open and citizen science to investigate policy relevant action for environmental justice, human and planetary wellbeing, and food system resilience. Currently, he is a learning partner for USAID’s support to adaptive management of resilience and food security projects in the Sahel, leading capacity development for emergency response and resilience around the world for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, and helping NASA support environmental justice on the Gulf Coast with open science. He has served as Chief of Party for international NGO developmental-relief programming valued over 400 million USD. As co-chair of the Emergency and Disaster Evaluation thematic group at the American Evaluation Association, Dr. Morrow has promoted inclusive engagement and more rigorous measurement models in resilience research and intervention planning. The most recent Global Environment Facility (GEF-7) replenishment strategy was informed, in part, by a geospatial analysis of armed conflict and environmental security led by Dr. Morrow. He was invited to conduct the first-ever technical review of an SDG target indicator; 2.1.2 -- ‘Prevalence of severe or moderate food insecurity’. International organizations that he has supported in research, learning, policy, procedure and capacity development include WFP, FAO, UNDP, GEF/World Bank, IGAD, World Vision, CARE, CRS and various international cooperation efforts.
I have several seemingly diverse research projects underway, but they share a common focus on keeping people well and protecting the planet. The multidisciplinary nature and outcome orientation of people and planet research is particularly suited to global health and sustainable development-focused policy and policy implementation by international organizations.
Food security and resilience is the topic for the summer institute I teach each year in Italy. This is also the topic of a major research effort in the Sahel with USAID and international NGO’s on intentional learning as integrated support for adaptive management of food security and resilience projects. Food security within a broader human security framing proves a useful conceptual framework to ensure cross discipline consideration in developing appropriate measures or indicators for the these complex research subjects. Measurement and indicators have been the subject of several of my peer reviewed articles and often multiple technical reports per year. Innovative technology is largely responsible for the empirical advances that make resilient food system research possible by advancing both qualitative and qualitative systems analysis methods. In 2018, I undertook the first formal technical review of an SDG target indicator – SDG 2.1.2 Food Insecurity Experience Scale. Often involving students when possible, I have conducted research, assessments, and evaluations in more than 20-countries with leading global food security actors including WFP, FAO, World Vision, CARE and CRS. Research often leads to learning and capacity development programs for training the current professionals and the next generation of emergency humanitarian responders and resilience programmers.
Expanding my research focus from food security to the closely related areas of energy security and water security, I research geospatial longitudinal modeling of wellbeing and sustainability outcomes for better understanding of resilient geographies and sustainable socio-natures. Innovative empirical technology of recent decades has fundamentally changed research capabilities for investigating interactions of socio-techo-ecological systems, resilient geographies, and sustainable cultural socio-natures. Evidence is increasing for the importance of forests, wetlands, rangelands, woodlands, and other common areas for wellbeing outcomes such as nutrition, development outcomes such as asset creation, and a range of resilience increasing environmental services. Although geographers and ecologists have pioneered landscape and regional approaches to integrating the complementarity of these types of land use, little has been done to quantify and analyze the interaction directly on and near the farm of situating households within the food system. My methods draw on observational innovation to provide new ways of more fully understanding these complex interactions and important relationships. Food systems, food and nutrient security, and resilience have provided the necessary framing of the work to ensure policy and policy implementation relevance. This is the subject of a recent set of papers on food systems in Ethiopia :
- Rooting the future; on-farm trees’ contribution to household energy security and asset creation as a resilient development pathway—evidence from a 20-year panel in rural Ethiopia (Morrow et al., 2018)
- Green assets; quantifying contributions of autochthonous tree-like perennials to food and nutrition security resilience in southern Ethiopian Highlands. (Morrow et al., under review 2022)
- Biomass Poverty; Small Farm Forests Syncopate Persistent Seasonal Food Insecurity in Panel Data Evidence from Ethiopia. (Morrow et al., under review 2022)
With recent funding from NASA and experience working with the World Bank hosted Global Environmental Facility, open science and collaborative geospatial analysis for environmental security and justice is a third stream of my current research portfolio. As far back as 1998, I had worked on NASA funded research and published on the use of remote sensing to drive agro-ecological models and observe temporal changes in the environment. After 25-years, the social data sets are beginning to become available to match the advances in earth observation. Students from my GIS class implemented an Ushahidi crowd mapping platform to track damage from the BP oil spill that supported congressional testimonies from Gulf Coast communities. Working with the World Food program, I have led developmental evaluations and technical reviews of their work in high frequency mobile monitoring, big data analysis, Facebook and chat bot information gathering, and block chain technology. Research enabled by technology facilitating community participation in science has practical application from humanitarian action in hard to access contexts such as the Ebola response or working in ISIS controlled areas to empowering environmental justice communities on the Gulf Coast.
Please do not hesitate to contact me about opportunities to engage in collaborative research for the wellbeing of people and the planet.
View Dr. Morrow's publications at his NCBI and Google Scholar links.