Blesh CV

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JENNIFER BLESH

Assistant Professor • University of Michigan • School for Environment and Sustainability • Ann Arbor, MI 48109 • jblesh@umich.edu

POSITIONS

Assistant Professor, School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan. 1/1/2014-present.

Post-Doctoral Fellow: National Science Foundation International Research Fellowship Program, Faculty of Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine, Federal University of Mato Grosso, Cuiabá, MT, Brazil, and Department of Development Sociology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. 11/2011- 12/2013.

Graduate Research Assistant: Drinkwater Laboratory, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University, Ithaca NY. 08/2005-10/2011

Graduate Teaching Assistant: Department of Horticulture, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. 08/2008-12/2008

EDUCATION

PhD in Soil and Crop Sciences, January 2012, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
M.S. in Soil and Crop Sciences, May 2008, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
B.S. in Ecology, December 2003, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA

PUBLICATIONS: PEER REVIEWED

Blesh, J. (In Review). Functional traits in cover crop mixtures: biological N fixation and multifunctionality.

King, A.E. and J. Blesh. (In Review). Functional diversity of crop rotations and soil organic carbon accumulation.

Guerra, J., Blesh, J., Schmitt, A., and H. Wittman. (In Review). Pathways to agroecology through mediated markets in Santa Catarina, Brazil.

Wittman, H., Chappell, M.J., Abson, D., Bezner-Kerr, R., Blesh, J., Hanspach, J., Perfecto, I., and J. Fischer. 2016. A social-ecological perspective on harmonizing food security and biodiversity conservation. Regional Environmental Change. doi:10.1007/s10113-0161045-9.

Jones A.D., Hoey, L., Blesh, J., Miller, L., Green, A., and L. Shapiro. 2016. A systematic review of the conceptualization and measurement of sustainable diets. Advances in Nutrition. doi:10.3945/an.115.011015.

Schipanski, M.E., MacDonald, G.K., Rosenzweig, S., Chappell, M.J., Bennett, E.M., Bezner-Kerr, R., Blesh, J., Crews, T., Drinkwater, L.E., Lundgren, J., and C. Schnarr. 2016. Realizing resilient food systems. BioScience. doi:10.1093/biosci/biw052.

Crews, T.E., Blesh, J., Culman, S.W., Hayes, R.C., Jensen, E.S., Mack, M.C., Peoples, M.B., and M.E. Schipanski. 2016. Going where no grains have gone before: from early to mid-succession. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 223:223-238.

Blesh, J. and Wittman, H. 2015. “Brasilience”: Assessing resilience on land reform settlement farms in the Brazilian Cerrado. Human Ecology 43:4. doi:10.1007/s10745-015-9770-0.

Wittman, H., and J. Blesh. 2015. Food sovereignty and Fome Zero: Connecting public food procurement programs to sustainable rural development in Brazil. Journal of Agrarian Change. doi:10.1111/joac.12131.

Blesh, J. and S.A. Wolf. 2014. Transitions to agroecological farming systems in the Mississippi River Basin: toward an integrated socioecological analysis. Agriculture and Human Values 31:621-635.

Blesh, J. and L.E. Drinkwater. 2014. Retention of 15N-labeled fertilizer in an Illinois prairie soil with winter rye. Soil Science Society of America Journal 78:496-508.

Blesh, J. and L.E. Drinkwater. 2013. The impact of nitrogen source and crop rotation on nitrogen mass balances in the Mississippi River Basin. Ecological Applications, 23(5):1017-1035.

Gardner (Blesh), J.B. and L.E. Drinkwater. 2009. The fate of nitrogen in grain cropping systems: a meta-analysis of 15N field experiments. Ecological Applications, 19(8):2167-2184.

Pimentel, D., J. Gardner (Blesh), A.J. Bonnifield, X. Garcia, J.B. Grufferman, C.M. Horan, J.L. Schlenker, and E.E. Walling. 2007. Energy efficiency and conservation for individual Americans.  Environment, Development and Sustainability, 11:523-546.

Blesh, J. and G.W. Barrett. 2006. Farmers’ attitudes regarding agrolandscape ecology: a regional comparison. Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, 28(3):121-143.

O’Malley, M., Blesh, J., Williams, M. and G.W. Barrett. 2003. Food preferences and bioenergetics of the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) and the golden mouse (Ochrotomys nuttalli). Georgia Journal of Science, 61:233-237.

PUBLICATIONS: OTHER

Blesh, J. and R.E. Galt. 2017. Transitions to agroecological nutrient management practices in the U.S. Corn Belt. (forthcoming in: Wezel, A., Ed. Agroecological Practices. World Scientific, London, UK).

Daigger, G., Newell, J.P., Love, N., McClintock, N., Gardiner, M., Mohareb, E., Horst, M., Blesh, J., Ramaswami, A. 2016. Scaling up agriculture in city-regions to mitigate FEW system impacts. Ann Arbor, MI: School of Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan. 68 pages.

Blesh, J. 2013. Review of the book Nature’s matrix: linking agriculture, conservation and food sovereignty. Journal of Peasant Studies 40:786-790.

Blesh, J. and M. Williams. 2003. Booklet: HorseShoe Bend: A center for ecological teaching, research and service at the University of Georgia.

GRANTS AND FELLOWSHIPS AWARDED

2016- “An integrated assessment of family farming systems in southern Brazil” ADVANCE Elizabeth Caroline Crosby Research Award, University of Michigan. Role: Lead PI

2015- “Curriculum development in Sustainable Food Systems: Increasing the number and diversity of students in Sustainable Food System Studies” USDA Higher Education Challenge Grant. Role: Co-PI

2015- “Transforming Sustainability Education and Case-Based Teaching” University of Michigan, Transforming Learning for a Third Century Program. Role: Co-PI

2015- “Developing an innovative approach to measuring the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and testing critical linkages from farmer livelihoods to nutrition” IMMANA Grant, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Role: Co-PI

2015- “A socio-ecological analysis of diversified agricultural landscapes in Santa Catarina, Brazil” UM-Brazil Partnership Grant, Graham Institute. Role: Lead PI

2015- “Legume Cover Crop Impacts on Soil Nitrogen Cycling and Soil Fertility on Organic Vegetable Farms” Ceres Trust, Organic Research Initiative. Role: Lead PI

2015- “Food systems typologies and nutritional impacts in the transitioning Global South” Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation, Sustainable Food System Project. Role: Co-PI

2014- “Socio-ecological resilience of diversified family farms in Mato Grosso, Brazil” UM-Brazil Partnership Sustainability Cooperation Grant. Role: Lead PI

2011- “Agroecology in Practice: Agrarian Reform, Ecological Sustainability and Social Equality in Brazil” National Science Foundation, International Research Fellowship Program (IRFP). Role: Lead PI

2010- Teresa Heinz Scholars for Environmental Research, Heinz Family Philanthropies

2009- Annie’s Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship, Annie’s Homegrown

2009-2010 Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, Portuguese. U.S. Department of Education

2005-2007- National Science Foundation IGERT Fellowship, Biogeochemistry and Environmental Biocomplexity

2008- Natural Systems Agriculture Workshop Fellowship, The Land Institute

2008, 2010- Biogeochemistry and Environmental Biocomplexity Small Grants, Cornell University

2007- Land Institute Graduate Student Fellowship, The Land Institute

Joshua Laerm Memorial Outstanding Ecology Undergraduate Award, Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia

TEACHING 

Current courses: Foundations of Sustainable Food Systems (ENVIRON 462-011/NRE 501-038), Agroecosystem Management: Nutrient Cycles and Soil Fertility (NRE 501-038); Food Sovereignty (NRE 639-075).

Teaching Assistant, Ecology of Agricultural Systems (HORT 2730)

Curriculum Development, Organic Food and Agriculture (AGSCI 3800)

Guest Lecturer:
Ecology of Agriculture (Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, Ohio State University)
The Nature of Plants (Department of Horticulture, Cornell University)
Hunger Amidst Surplus (Science and Technology Studies, Cornell University)
Plant Ecology (Biology, University of Wisconsin–La Crosse)
Organic Food and Agriculture (Agricultural Sciences, Cornell University)
Principles of Biogeochemistry (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University)

INVITED ACADEMIC PRESENTATIONS

Blesh, J. 2017. Leverage points for food system transformation toward sustainability. Invited keynote speech, Food, The Future, and You Symposium, University of British Columbia, Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, January 26.

Blesh, J. 2016. Rural landscapes as social-ecological systems: Examples from Brazil’s Zero Hunger program. Invited Guest Speaker, International Colloquium on Global Food Security and Sustainability, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, November 30.

Blesh, J. 2016. Ecosystem management for resilient and multifunctional food systems. Invited Guest Seminar Intersections Seminar Series, Department of Geography, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, November 18.

Blesh, J. 2016. Cropping system diversity, resilience, and multifunctionality. Center for Molecular and Clinical Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases (MAC-EPID) Symposium: Agriculture: Health Benefits, Health Risks, and Environmental Impact, Pre-symposium workshop, University of Michigan, April 14.

Blesh, J., Drinkwater, L.E., Wittman, H., and S.A. Wolf. 2015. Agroecology and resilience in socio-ecological systems. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting. Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, MD, August 9-14.

Blesh, J. 2015. The ecology of agroecology and the agroecology of food sovereignty. Invited seminar at the Michigan Meeting on Food Sovereignty, University of Michigan, May 29.

Blesh, J. 2014. Socio-ecological resilience of family farms on land reform settlements in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Invited Guest Seminar, Department of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, November 19.

Blesh, J. 2014. “Brasilience”: Realizing resilient food systems in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Invited Ignite! Presentation at Fast Food for Thought: Ten Tiny Talks on Ten Big Topics in Food and Agriculture, University of Michigan, Sustainable Food Systems Initiative, October 21.

Blesh, J. 2014. Invited Panelist: Working with community stakeholders to improve food system resilience: comparison across industrialized and developing countries. Resilience 2014, Resilience and Development: Mobilizing for Transformation, Montpellier, France, May 7.

Blesh, J. 2014. Transitions to agroecological management: The case of nitrogen pollution from the Mississippi River Basin. Invited Guest Speaker in the Technological & Social Innovation in Global Food Systems course, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, February 19.

Blesh, J. 2014. Brasilience: Assessing resilience on smallholder farms in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Invited Guest Seminar, Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University. January 24.

Blesh, J. 2013. Agroecosystem management and nitrogen balance on grain farms in the Mississippi River Basin. Invited Guest Seminar, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, The Ohio State University. November 8.

Blesh, J. 2013. Brasilience: Realizing resilient food systems in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Invited Ignite! Symposium Talk, Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting. Minneapolis, MN, August 4-9.

Blesh, J. 2012. From the Mississippi River Basin to the Cerrado: Assessing Processes and Practices of Sustainable Food Systems. Invited Guest Seminar, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan. Dec. 4.

Blesh, J. 2011. Agroecosystem sustainability in the Mississippi River Basin: Assessing ecological and social drivers of nitrogen pollution. Invited Guest Seminar, Agronomy Department, Iowa State University. Oct. 6.

Blesh, J. and M.J. Chappell. 2011. Revolutionary action ecology: Concepts and actions for a new generation of (agro) ecological citizen-scientists. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting. Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX Aug. 7-12.

Blesh, J. 2011. Engaged agroecology: Exploring the dynamic processes and practices of sustainable food systems. Invited Guest Seminar, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia. March 2.

Blesh, J., L.E. Drinkwater, and S.A. Wolf. 2010. The dilemma of nitrogen pollution from farms in the upper Midwest: Exploring opportunities for change through cross-disciplinary collaboration. “Enhancing Communication in Cross-Disciplinary Research,” sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the University of Idaho. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2010.

Blesh, J., L.E. Drinkwater, and R.E. Galt. 2009. What barriers prevent the application of soil ecology to agricultural systems? Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting. Albuquerque, NM, Aug. 2-7.

ACADEMIC PRESENTATIONS

Blesh, J. 2016. Assessing on-farm performance of cover crop mixtures in vegetable cropping systems. ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meeting, Phoenix, AZ, Nov. 6-9.

Blesh, J. and H. Wittman. 2015. Food sovereignty in Brazil: an interdisciplinary indicator and evaluation framework. Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting. Chicago, IL, April 21-25.

Blesh, J. 2014. Assessing resilience of smallholder farms in the Brazilian Cerrado. ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meeting, Long Beach, CA, Nov. 1-5.

Blesh, J., M. Borgman, and E. Canosa. 2014. Building an interdisciplinary sustainable food systems program at the University of Michigan. 6th National Sustainable Agriculture Education Association Conference. Raleigh, NC, Aug. 3-6.

Blesh, J. and H. Wittman. 2014. Resilience of smallholder farms in the Brazilian Cerrado: An interdisciplinary and participatory assessment framework. Resilience 2014, Resilience and Development: Mobilizing for Transformation, Montpellier, France, May 4-8.

Blesh, J. and H. Wittman. 2013. Land reform as a socioecological system: assessing food sovereignty and resilience in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting. Los Angeles, CA, April 9-13.

Blesh, J. and L.E. Drinkwater. 2010. Comparing nitrogen cycling on grain farms in the Mississippi River Basin using a mass balance approach. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting. Pittsburgh, PA, Aug. 1-6.

Blesh, J., L.E. Drinkwater, and S.A. Wolf. 2010. A socioecological lens on nitrogen pollution of waterways: exploring farm-scale dynamics in the Mississippi River Basin. Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., April 14-18.

Blesh, J. and L.E. Drinkwater. 2009. Agroecosystem management and nitrogen balance on grain farms in the Midwestern United States. ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA, Nov. 1-5.

Blesh, J. and L.E. Drinkwater. 2008. How does agroecosystem management affect potential nitrogen loss from grain farms in the Mississippi River Basin? Joint Annual Meeting of the ASA, SSSA, CSSA, and GSA. Houston, TX, Oct. 5-9.

Blesh, J. and L.E. Drinkwater. 2008. The fate of nitrogen in grain cropping systems: A meta-analysis of 15N field experiments. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Milwaukee, WI, Aug. 3-8.

Blesh, J. and L.E. Drinkwater. 2006. Understanding human impacts on the nitrogen cycle using a mass balance approach. SWCS conference, Managing Agricultural Landscapes for Environmental Quality, Strengthening the Science Base. Kansas City, Missouri, Oct.11-13.

Blesh, J. and G.W. Barrett. 2004. Farmers’ attitudes regarding agroecology: a regional comparison. Georgia Conservation Tillage Alliance conference, Sustainable Agriculture and Conservation Tillage: A Systems Approach Training. Douglas, Georgia, Feb. 10.

Blesh, J. and M. Williams. 2003. Food preferences and bioenergetics of the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) and the golden mouse (Ochrotomys nuttalli). Georgia Academy of Sciences annual meeting, Mar. 21.

CONFERENCE SESSIONS ORGANIZED

Association of American Geographers Annual Meetings, Boston, MA, April 5-9, 2017. Co-organizer and chair of three sessions titled: Resilience, Food, and Agriculture: Social-Ecological Frameworks for Sustainability and Social Justice.

Member, Organizing Committee, Michigan Meeting on Food Sovereignty: Construction of an International Sustainable Food Movement, University of Michigan, May 28-30, 2015.

Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Albuquerque, NM, Aug. 2-7, 2009. Coorganizer and moderator of the symposium: Agroecology for a Sustainable Future.

2nd National Conference on Facilitating Sustainable Agriculture Education, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, July 11-14, 2007. Chair of facilitation workgroup; helped coordinate facilitation of the meeting’s participatory format.

CONFERENCE ABSTRACTS

Valencia, V., Jones, A., and J. Blesh. 2017. Assessing links between agrobiodiversity and human nutrition among family farmers in Brazil: The role of gender equity and mediated markets. Association of American Geographers Annual Meetings, Boston, MA, April 5-9.

VanDusen, B. and J. Blesh. 2017. Assessing performance of cover crop mixtures in organic vegetable cropping systems. Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) Conference, La Crosse, WI, February 23-25.

King, A.E. and J. Blesh. 2015. Effects of species and functional diversity of crop rotations on soil organic matter: a meta-analysis. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting. Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, MD, August 9-14.

Wittman, H. and J. Blesh. 2015. Food sovereignty and Fome Zero: connecting public food procurement programs to sustainable rural development in Brazil. Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting. Chicago, IL, April 21-25.

Tonitto, C., Blesh, J., David, M.B., and L.E. Drinkwater. 2011. Nitrogen management through coupling carbon and nitrogen in agroecosystems. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA, Dec. 5-9.

Schipanski, M. and J. Blesh. 2011. Ecological approaches to reducing agricultural nutrient losses. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting. Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX Aug. 7-12.

Drinkwater, L.E., David, M.B., Galt, R.E., Blesh, J., Hufnagl-Eichiner, S., Marshall, L., Snapp, S., Tonitto, C., Westra, J.V., and S.A. Wolf. 2009. Hypoxia and the Mississippi River Basin as a model system: What can we learn about the social-ecological interface? Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Aug. 2-7.

Drinkwater, L.E., David, M.B, Wolf, S.A., Blesh, J., and S. Hufnagl-Eichiner. 2009. Coupled human-natural systems: Hypoxia and the Mississippi River Basin as a model system. CHANS-Net Symposium, U.S. Regional Association, International Association for Landscape Ecology

Blesh, J. and L. E. Drinkwater. 2006. Understanding human impacts on the nitrogen cycle in agroecosystems using a mass balance approach. Soil and Water Conservation Society Meeting, Kansas City, MO, October 11-13.

ACADEMIC SERVICE

Administrator, SNRE Graduate Certificate in Sustainability, Fall 2016 – Winter 2017

Member, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, Fall 2016 – Winter 2017

Member Representative, Sustainable Agriculture Education Association Steering Council, May 2016 – present.

Grossman, J. and J. Blesh. 2016. Beyond rye: summer and winter cover crops. Co-led Workshop at the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) Conference, La Crosse, WI, February 26.

Member, Search Committee, Sustainable Food Systems Cluster Hire, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan, 2014-present.

Sustainable Agriculture Education Association Steering Council Member; August 2010- January 2012

Cornell University Working Group on Public Engagement (Re-Imagining Cornell); August 2009- July 2010

Cornell University Provost’s Advisory Council of Graduate and Professional Students; August 2009- July 2010

New World Agriculture and Ecology Group (NWAEG) at Cornell: Vice President, November 2005- September 2006; President, September 2006-January 2009; Secretary, January 2009- August 2011

Facilitating Sustainable Agriculture Education Conference Steering Committee Member; July 2006- September 2007

COMMUNITY EVENTS 

Presenter at the Organic Vegetable Twilight Meeting; Zilke Vegetable Farm, Milan MI in September 2015 and 2016.

Member of planning team and facilitator of Open Space sessions: “Local Food Summit 2014,” Washtenaw County Community College, Ann Arbor, MI, March 31, 2014.

Panel moderator and event co-organizer: “A Farm for the Future” film screening and panel discussion. Mann Library Local Food and Fiber Fair, Cornell University, November 18, 2010.

Panel moderator and event co-organizer: “Urban Harvest: Perspectives on Urban Agriculture and Food Justice,” NWAEG at Cornell University and Gardens4Humanity, Ithaca, NY, April 9-10, 2010.

Panel moderator and event co-organizer: A panel discussion, “Food Justice and Agricultural Sustainability Practitioners and Activists” at the event, “World Food Crisis Solutions: Get involved locally and globally!” NWAEG at Cornell University, April 5, 2009.

Co-organizer with NWAEG at Cornell: “Facilitating Sustainable Agriculture Education” seminar series. Spring Semester, 2005, Cornell University.

SOCIETY MEMBERSHIPS

Ecological Society of America
Soil Science Society of America
American Society of Agronomy
Association of American Geographers
Agriculture, Food & Human Values Society
Sustainable Agriculture Education Association