Gund Fellow, Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences

Dr. Meredith T. Niles is an assistant professor in the Food Systems program and the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of Vermont.  Meredith’s work focuses on the nexus of food and environment with a focus on people, behaviors and policy.  Meredith’s current research examines farmer perceptions and impacts of regulations, climate change and food security, farmer’s adoption of practices, and food waste behaviors.

Meredith holds a B.A in political science with honors in environmental studies from The Catholic University of America. She holds a PhD in ecology with a focus on human ecology and environmental policy from the University of California-Davis where her dissertation work explored New Zealand and US farmer perceptions of climate change, climate policies and adoption of climate mitigation and adaptation policies. She was a Sustainability Science post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government where she worked with the Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS) group to explore smallholder experiences with climate change and food security. 

Prior to her academic career Meredith worked for the United States Department of State on the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and several non-profits.  She has also worked in various consulting projects for farmer organizations, food industry, and non-profit groups, most recently examining potential agricultural carbon offset markets for reduced fertilizer use in the United States. Meredith is passionate about making academic research more publicly available through advocating for open access and research policies and is currently serving on the board of directors for Public Library of Science (PLOS), one of the world’s largest non-profit scientific publishers.

Publications

  • Niles, M.T., Ahuja, R., Esquivel, J., Heller, M., Mango, N., Tirado, C., Vermeulen, S. (2018). An assessment of food systems opportunities for climate change mitigation.  Accepted for a special issue on Climate Change and Food Systems in Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems.
  • Schattman, R., Roesch-McNally, G., Wiener, S., Niles, M.T., Hollinger, D. (2018). Farm Service Agency employee intentions to use weather and climate data in professional services. Accepted for a special issue on Climate Change and Food Systems in Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems
  • Niles, M.T., Garrett, R., Walsh, D*. (2018). Ecological and economic benefits and challenges for integrating sheep into viticulture production.  Published online December 19, 2017. Agronomy for Sustainable Development. 38: 1. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13593-017-0478-y
  • Niles, M.T. and Brown, M.  (2017). A multi-country assessment of factors related to smallholder food security in varying rainfall conditions. Scientific Reports. 7: 16277. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-16282-
  • Niles, M.T. and Courtney Hammond-Wagner* (2017).  Farmers seek local solutions for California water management and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. California Agriculture Special Issue, “California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.” https://doi.org/10.3733/ca.2017a0040

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Food systems, climate change, food security, food policy, integrated crop-livestock systems, environmental behavior

Education

  • Giorgio Ruffolo Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Sustainability Science, Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government
  • PhD, Ecology, University of California-Davis
  • BA, Political Science, The Catholic University of America

Contact