Lesli Hoey is an Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning. She teaches graduate courses in food systems policy and planning, international planning in low-income countries, and program evaluation methods. She uses food systems as a lens to study the socio-political and institutional factors that mediate the ability of citizen planners and professional planners to achieve a more equitable, sustainable and healthy society. She is particularly interested in the intersection of food policy advocacy, planning, implementation, and evaluation.
Her current projects examine collaborative initiatives aiming to improve healthy food access and local food economies in Michigan; the systemic effects of recent cuts in SNAP benefits (food stamps) on local poverty alleviation institutions in Michigan; factors in rapidly urbanizing metropolitan areas influencing Bolivia's dual burden - the persistence of undernutrition alongside the rise in obesity; and strategies for leveraging existing data and insights into the policy process to enhance the sustainability of diets in Kenya and Vietnam. In the past, she worked on studies in Bolivia and country comparisons focused on advocacy strategies for mainstreaming nutrition into national policy agendas; the challenges of establishing multisectoral food policy; innovative land redistribution approaches; factors constraining nutrition interventions in rapidly urbanizing contexts; approaches for integrating evidence-based and experiential knowledge in food and nutrition evaluation; and "adaptive" forms of food policy implementation (i.e. iterative, collaborative, negotiated).
Prior to pursuing graduate studies, Hoey worked as a program evaluator and action researcher, focusing on equity-oriented K-12 and higher education programs in the US as well as rural development, malnutrition and food security projects in the Mississippi Delta, Peru, Albania and Bolivia. She earned a Ph.D. and Master's in city and regional planning from Cornell University and a B.A. in psychology from Earlham College.