Schless-Meier headshot

Emerson Fellow

Adrien Schless-Meier

20th Class, 2013-2014

Raised in Denver, Colorado, Adrien graduated from Reed College in 2012 with a degree in sociology. Her senior thesis analyzed organizational barriers to participation in farmers’ markets among low-income people and people of color in Portland, Oregon. As an AmeriCorps member serving in the Office of Sustainability at Multnomah County, Adrien conducted research on healthy food access, food system infrastructure, and shopping patterns in a USDA-designated food desert. She also designed an interactive map to provide county residents and staff with comprehensive data on a variety of food resources, from convenience stores to community gardens.

Field placement: Just Harvest

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Adrien evaluated the impact of Fresh Access, a pilot program to accept SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits at six farmers markets operated by the city of Pittsburgh. She focused on how Fresh Access created opportunities for low-income people to purchase healthy, local food and how SNAP played a vital role in boosting farmer incomes. Adrien also developed recommendations for adjustments and expansion for the second year of Fresh Access program, including the creation of an incentive program for SNAP recipients to stretch their food budgets.

Policy placement: Feeding America

Washington, D.C.

Adrien worked with the Policy and Advocacy team to develop a grant program for food banks to build their capacity to engage in advocacy. She created an advocacy toolkit and collected stories from food banks about effective advocacy strategies to share within the Feeding America network. Adrien also created a relationship map between food banks and their members of Congress to support Feeding America's hunger education efforts.