Meisenheimer headshot

Emerson Fellow

Melanie Meisenheimer

21st Class, 2014-2015

Field Placement: Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (Montpelier, VT)

Melanie worked on the Food Access & Affordable Housing Initiative. She facilitated collaboration between affordable housing nonprofits and food systems organizations in order to improve access to fresh and local food for low-income Vermonters. She convened gatherings between these groups in three cities to spur collaborative approaches to addressing food insecurity. Her research informed a resource guide and set of best practices for food access programming at affordable housing sites and policy recommendations.

Hunger Free Community Report:

Integrating Food Access & Affordable Housing is a resource guide for food access programming in affordable housing communities. It includes best practices and existing models for gardens, edible landscaping, cooking and nutrition education, and low-cost farm shares. It also offers recommendations for reducing charitable food waste, enhancing food justice, and collaborating with affordable housing providers.

Policy Placement: Food Research and Action Center (Washington, DC)

Melanie improved FRAC’s capacity to monitor implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill SNAP provisions. She analyzed USDA policy guidance and rule-making, and researched state best practices for maximizing SNAP benefits and access.

Pre-Fellowship Education and Experience:

Melanie grew up in Clovis, California and graduated from Gettysburg College in 2014 with a degree in globalization studies and public policy. In college, she coordinated the Campus Kitchen Project, a food rescue organization serving families and seniors and promoting nutrition education. She also ran the Gleaning Project of South Central PA, a nonprofit that works directly with growers to reduce agricultural waste and distribute fresh produce through a network of community agencies that serve low income families and individuals. Melanie studied abroad in France and Cameroon and served as an Immersion Project Student Leader at the Center for Public Service.