Dr. Meredith Niles is an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of Vermont and also teaches and advises in the food systems program. She completed her BA in politics with honors in environmental studies at The Catholic University of America, a PhD in Ecology at the University of California at Davis and was a post-doctorate fellow in Sustainability Science at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
Meredith thrives conducting applied research that can help bring together diverse stakeholders- whether on a farm or working with policymakers- to help solve pressing problems facing our world's food system. Meredith is an interdisciplinary food systems scientist that works at the interface of social-ecological food systems. Meredith’s research focus is primarily in advancing efforts to achieve sustainable food security and improve health and environmental outcomes from food systems. Her primary areas of focus include farmer decision-making and sustainable food production and food and nutritional security during crises, including climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to her academic career, Meredith worked for the United States Department of State in HIV/AIDS public health and for several non-profit organizations. Meredith is a passionate advocate for open access research to make research more publicly available to maximize the potential of science and its benefits for society. To help realize this goal she currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Public Library of Science (PLOS), one of the world’s largest non-profit scientific publishers.
At UVM, Meredith teaches an undergraduate course in U.S. food policy and politics and a graduate course in Food Systems Science and Policy. Her teaching is grounded in engaged, hands-on methods, especially to understand and participate in the policy process. Meredith is deeply committed to ensuring my academic research is available to the public and stakeholders to meet a land-grant mission, and publish in open access journals, develop research and policy briefs, and archive my research in publicly available repositories.