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Eric S. Bendfeldt

Area Specialist, Community Viability
Eric Bendfeldt
Virginia Cooperative Extension Northern District Office
2322 Blue Stone Hills Drive, Suite 140
Harrisonburg, VA 22801

Overview

I am a faculty member in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences with an 100% extension appointment. I currently serve an Extension Specialist and as Associate Director of the Center for Food Systems and Community Transformations. My extension education programming and outreach effort is focused on community and regional food systems, value chain coordination to assist farmers gain leverage and position in the marketplace, expansion and implementation of soil health principles and practices, and food and farming systems as community and economic development. 

Expertise

  • Community and Regional Food Systems
  • Farm-to-Table Connections
  • Soil Health
  • Community Development

Education

  • Ph.D. Student, Agricultural Leadership, and Community Education, Virginia Tech, 2017 
  • M.S. Forestry, Virginia Tech, 1999
  • B.S. Crop and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech, 1997
  • B.A. History, James Madison University, 1987

During my career with Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension, I have been a principal investigator, co-principal investigator, and collaborator on a number of grant funded research initiatives across Virginia related to water quality, soil health, nutrient and sediment load reduction strategies, local and regional food systems, and statewide food system planning. My current field research is on what influence and inspires farmers in relation to soil, conservation, and their sense of community.

Extension educational programs and workshops on facilitating community, local, and regional food systems, farm-to-table connections, soil health, and food and farming systems as community development.

Associate Director | 2019 – present
Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Lecturer – Extension Specialist | 2005 – Present
Community Viability and Food Systems,
Virginia Tech School of Plant and Environmental Sciences (SPES) and Virginia Cooperative Extension, Northern District Office, Harrisonburg, Va.

Lecturer – Extension Agent | 1999 – 2005
Environmental Sciences
Virginia Cooperative Extension
Rockingham County Office, Harrisonburg, Va.

Graduate Research Assistant | 1997 – 1999
Department of Forestry
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.

Research Technician | 1996
Turfgrass Research Center
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.

Agriculturalist/Community Development Coordinator | 1988 – 1995
Mennonite Central Committee, the relief and development agency of the Mennonite Church, Tanzania, East Africa

  • Library of Virginia, Library Journal 2012 Notable Government Publication
  • Virginia Agribusiness Council 2008 Extension Service Award
  • Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences 2005 Andy Swiger Land Grant Award
  • Agronomy Society of America 2002 Excellence in Communication Award
  • Virginia Association of Agricultural Extension Agents (VAAEA) 2001 Communication Award
  1. Lamie, R. D., R. Dunning, E.S. Bendfeldt, J. Massey Lelekacs, M. Velandia, L. Meyer. (2013). "Local Food Systems in the South: A Call for a Collaborative Approach to Assessment." Choices: The Magazine for Food, Farm and Resource. 4th Quarter 2013 Theme Overview.
  2. Woods, T., M., Velandia, R. Holcomb, R. Dunning, & Bendfeldt, E.S. (2013). "Local Food Systems Markets and Supply Chains." Choices: The Magazine for Food, Farm and Resource Issues. 4th Quarter 2013 Theme Overview.
  3. Benson, M., L. Hightower, E.S. Bendfeldt, C. Tyler-Mackey, K. Niewolny, & G. Groover. (2012). "Surveying agrifood stakeholders to identify priorities as part of a Virginia food system assessment", Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. Advance online publication. ISSN: 2152-0801 online.
  4. Bendfeldt, E. S., K. F. Knowlton, K. Holm, J. A. Ogejo, T. Denckla-Cobb, & E. F. Dukes. (2007). The Waste Solutions Forum: An Innovative and Cooperative Approach to Support the Agricultural Community and Protect Water Quality. Journal of Community Development Society. Vol.38(4):85-93.
  5. Peer R., G. Flory, & E. Bendfeldt. (2007). Incineration of Poultry Carcasses: Lessons learned from the Virginia avian influenza outbreak of 2002. Presentation at the National Carcass Disposal Symposium. Beltsville, Maryland, December 5 -7, 2006. URL: http://www.deq.state.va.us/vpa/pdf/CarcassIncinerationPres-NatCarcassDisposalSymp-12-2006.pdf 
  6. Ogejo J., Z. Wen, J. Ignosh, E. Bendfeldt, & E. Collins. (2007). Biomethane Technology. Virginia Cooperative Extension. Ext. Pub. Num: 442-881.
  7. Bendfeldt, E.S., R.W. Peer, & G.A. Flory. (2006). Is In-House Composting a Practicable Method of Disease Containment and Disposal for Turkeys, Breeder Operations, and Multi-Level House? Proceedings of the National Carcass Disposal Symposium. Beltsville, MD. December 5 -7, 2006.
  8. Bendfeldt, E.S., R.W. Peer, & G.A. Flory. (2005). Lessons Learned from Avian Influenza Outbreaks in Virginia 1984 – 2005. Proceedings of the Symposium on Composting Mortalities and Slaughterhouse Residuals. Portland, Maine. May 24-25, 2005.
  9. Bendfeldt, E.S., R.W. Peer, G.A. Flory, G.K. Evanylo, & G.W. Malone. (2005). In-House Composting of Turkey Mortalities as a Rapid Response to Catastrophic Losses. Proceedings of the Symposium on Composting Mortalities and Slaughterhouse Residuals. Portland, Maine. May 24-25, 2005.
  10. Bendfeldt, E.S., R.W. Peer, & G.A. Flory. (2004). Extension Guidelines for Composting Carcasses: In-House Composting of Catastrophic Poultry Mortality. In: Prevention and Response for Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5 and H7) in Virginia. Virginia Poultry Disease Task Force. September 22, 2004.
  11. Bendfeldt, E.S., J.A. Burger, & W.L. Daniels. (2002). Tree and Vegetation Response to Several Organic Amendments over 16 years. Journal of Environmental Quality, 43, 303-311.
  12. Bendfeldt, E.S., J.A. Burger, & W.L. Daniels. (2001). Quality of Amended Mine Soils After Sixteen Years. Soil Science Society of America Journal. SSSAJ 65:1736-1744.
  13. Bendfeldt, E.S., C.M. Feldhake, & J.A. Burger. (2001). Establishing Trees in an Appalachian Silvopasture: Response to shelters, grass control, mulch, and fertilization. Agroforestry Systems 53:291-295.
  14. Bendfeldt, E.S., J.A. Burger, W.L. Daniels, & C. Feldhake. (1999). Dynamics and Characterization of Soil Organic Matter on Mine Soils 16 years after Amendment with Topsoil, Sawdust, and Sewage Sludge. Proceedings of the 1999 National Meeting of the American Society for Surface Mining Reclamation. Scottsdale, Arizona. Aug. 13-18, 1999.

Selected Extension Publications

  1. Bendfeldt, E.S., Walker, M., Latimer, J., Niewolny, K., & Scott, K. (2018). Facilitating Community, Local, and Regional Food Systems. (SPES-144NP). Retrieved from https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/pubs_ext_vt_edu/spes/spes-144/SPES-144.pdf
  2. Bendfeldt, E.S., Latimer, J., Niewolny, K., & Scott, K. (2018). Visioning a Preferred Future for Virginia’s Food System for 2027. (SPES-142NP). Retrieved from https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/content/dam/pubs_ext_vt_edu/spes/spes-142/SPES-142.pdf  
  3. Miller, L.P., G.A. Flory, R.W. Peer, E. S. Bendfeldt, M. L. Hutchinson, M.A. King, B. Seekins, G. W. Malone, J. B. Payne, J. Floren, E. Malek, M. Schwarz, and J. Bonhotal. (2015). "High Pathogenic Outbreak 2014-2015 Mortality Composting Protocol for Avian Influenza Infected Flocks." U.S. Department of Agriculture. Washington, DC.
  4. Bendfeldt, E., Niewolny, K., Morgan, K., Love, K., Ignosh, J., Callan, P., Pease, J., Mize, T., Ohlwiler, T., Gardner, D. (2018). Water, Food and Farm Commons: Collectively Improving Watershed Health and Nutrient Pollution across the Shenandoah and Rappahannock River Basins -- A Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund Final Programmatic Report Narrative for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
  5. Bendfeldt, E. S., Mize, T., Ohlwiler, T., Love, K., Cooper, J., Sastre-Flores, E., Niewolny, K. Grisso, R., Hodges, S., Galbraith, J., Hankins, J. (2017). Healthy Farms from the Soil Up: Finding Common Ground -- Virginia Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) Final Project Report: Healthy Farms from the Soil Up: Finding Common Ground. Virginia USDA-NRCS. Retrieved from https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/va/home/
  6. Niewolny, K., Latimer, J., Bendfeldt, E. S., Scott, K., Miller, C., Nartea, T., Gehrt, K., Grisso, R., Vines, K., Morton, S., Githinji, L., & Tyler-Mackey, C. (2016). Community, Local, and Regional Food Systems (CLRFS) Forum Report (ALCE-156NP). Retrieved from http://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/ALCE/ALCE-156/ALCE-156.html
  7. Niewolny, K., Latimer, J., Bendfeldt, E. S., Scott, K., Miller, C., Nartea, T., Gehrt, K., Grisso, R., Vines, K., Morton, S., Githinji, L., Tyler-Mackey, C., Neale, S., & Dubois Harrow, L. (2016). Community, Local, and Regional Food Systems (ALCE-155NP). Retrieved from http://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/ALCE/ALCE-155/ALCE-155.html
  8. Niewolny, K., Latimer, J., Bendfeldt, E. S., Scott, K., Miller, C., Nartea, T., Gehrt, K., Grisso, R., Vines, K., Morton, S., Githinji, L., Tyler-Mackey, C., & Neale, S. (2016). VCE Model of Community, Local, Regional Food Systems (ALCE-154NP). Retrieved from http://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu/ALCE/ALCE-154/ALCE-154.html
  9. Holcomb, R., Bendfeldt, E. S., Lelekacs, J., Velandia, M., Woods, T., & Goodwin, Jr., H. L. (2016). A Local Food System Glossary: A Rose by Any Other Name. Selected paper prepared for presentation at the Southern Agricultural Economics Association (SAEA) Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, 6-9 February 2016. In Southern Agricultural Economics Association (SAEA) Annual Meeting (pp. 19 pages). San Antonio, Texas.
  10. Virginia Farm to Table Team. (2011). Virginia Farm to Table: Healthy Farms and Healthy Food for the Common Wealth and Common Good. A Plan for Strengthening Virginia’s Food System and Economic Future. E.S. Bendfeldt, C. Tyler-Mackey, M. Benson, L. Hightower, K. Niewolny (Eds.) Accessed at: http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/CV/CV-3/CV-3.html December 2011.
  11. Bendfeldt, E.S., Walker, M., Bunn, T., Martin, L., & M. Barrow. (2011). A Community-Based Food System: Building Health, Wealth, Connections, and Capacity as the Foundation of our Economic Future, VCE Publication Number 3306-9029. Accessed at: http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/3306/3306-9029/3306-9029.html
  12. Heatwole C., & Bendfeldt, E.S. (2011). Adaptive and Community-based Strategies to Reduce Nutrient Loads. National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Final Programmatic Report. Washington, D.C., December 30, 2011.
  13. Hightower L., Benson, M., Bendfeldt, E.S., Tyler-Mackey, C., & K. Niewolny. (2011). Strengthening Virginia’s Agricultural Economic Vitality and Community Viability through a Statewide Food System Assessment. Paper presented at Joint meetings of the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society; the Association for the Study of Food and Society; and Society for Anthropology of Food and Nutrition. Missoula, MT. June, 2011.

Research Community Memberships