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Associate Professor

Roni Neff, PhD '06, ScM, researches ways to cut food waste and address climate change through more resilient, equitable, and healthy food systems.

Contact Info

615 N. Wolfe Street, Room W7009

Research Interests

Food system; food waste; resilience; climate change; sustainability; workers; food insecurity; equity; policy; Baltimore; history; qualitative
Experiences & Accomplishments
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Harvard School of Public Health
Brown University
My research, policy and practice activities focus on advancing change at the intersection of food systems, planetary health and social justice.

Wasted food: For nearly a decade, I have explored wasted food causes and solutions, while seeking to broaden discourse on the issue. I am co-PI of the NSF-supported RECIPES food waste research network, through which my team and I focus on the quality of food provided through food rescue, co-creating worker-led interventions, evaluating food waste solutions in schools and local governments, and policy analysis. I am PI of a USDA-supported INFEWS (food-energy-water nexus) study examining waste and resource use across the US seafood supply chain. I also participate in research focused on food rescue and public education. I recently served on a National Academy of Sciences consensus panel recommending a systems approach to consumer food waste.

Food system resilience: I work to support food security in the face of natural and human-made disasters by researching and promoting community planning. In late 2022 my team released a planning guide for local governments, the product of a multi-year collaboration with 5 US cities. The work builds on our 2017 Baltimore City collaboration that produced one of the first municipal food system resilience planning documents in the US. I also served on the executive team for the National Food Access and COVID Research Team (NFACT), and am performing analyses to better understand determinants food system resilience.

I engage with public health practice and with broader food system issues through my longtime role at the school's Center for a Livable Future, an academic center focused on food systems & public health. I teach a community-engaged seminar course, Baltimore Food Systems: A Case Study in Urban Food Environments and an online course, Food System Resilience to Disasters. I co-lead the department’s PhD track in Environmental Sustainability, Resilience and Health, and co-direct the school's MPH Concentration and Certificate programs in Food Systems & Public Health. I edited the first textbook on the US food system: Introduction to the US Food System: Public Health, Environment, Equity (Wiley-Jossey Bass, 2014). I am a member of the National Academy of Sciences Food Forum. My work has been featured in major news outlets in the US and internationally.
Honors & Awards
Excellence in teaching, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2010 - 2022
Delta Omega Award for Innovative Public Health Curriculum – Second Place, for Food System Certificate (co-leader of certificate), 2017
Faculty Excellence in Service Learning Award, SOURCE, JHSPH 2014
Champion of the Month, May 2014, SOURCE, JHSPH
SOURCE Service Learning Faculty Fellow, 2012-13
Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society, Alpha Chapter, 2007
Victor P. Raymond Award in Health Policy, 2003
Select Publications
Below are some of my most recent last- and first-author publications.
  • Moore E, Biehl E, Burke M, Misiaszek C, Bassarab K, Neff RA. 2022. Food System Resilience: A Planning Guide for Local Governments. Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. 6 chapters.
  • Babbitt CW, Neff RA, Roe B, Siddiqui S, Chavis C, Trabold T. 2022. Transforming wasted food will require systemic and sustainable infrastructure innovations. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. 10.1016/j.cosust.2022.101151
  • Ceryes CA, Antonacci CA, Harvey S, Spiker ML, Bickers A, Neff RA. “Maybe it’s still good?” Supermarket workers’ experiences of food waste reduction, recycling, and rescue efforts. Appetite. 2021. June 1; 161: 105111.
  • Turvey C, Moran M, Sacheck J, Arashiro A, Huang Q, Heley K, Johnston E, Neff RA. Impact of Messaging Strategy on Consumer Understanding of Food Date Labels. 2021. Journal of Nutrition Education & Behavior 53:5, P389-400.
  • Neff RA, Love DC, Overbey K, Biehl E, Deutsch J, Gorski-Steiner I, Pearson P, Vigil T, Turvey C, Fry JP. 2021. Consumer seafood waste and the potential of a “direct-from-frozen” approach to prevention. Foods.
Food waste national consumer survey
Southwest Baltimore Supermarket Intervention
Longitudinal study of pathogen exposure and CAFO worker health
Protein consumption, environment and public health
Urban Food System Resilience
Wasted Food
Food + COVID-19 Community of Practice + indicators
National Food Access & COVID Research Team (NFACT)
Food system workers and COVID-19 survey
Nutrition policy for healthy meals in early childhood: Impacts on diet quality and food waste