Kim L. Niewolny

Associate Professor

  • Community Education and Development

Ph.D., Adult & Extension Education, 2007, Cornell University, Department of Education

M.S., Adult & Extension Education, 2006, Cornell University, Department of Education

M.P.S., Community & Rural Development, 2003, Cornell University, Department of Development Sociology

B.S., Biology & Wildlife Ecology, 1996, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

 

Awards

 

  • Teacher Fellow Award, North American Colleges & Teachers of Agriculture, 2014
  • 2013, Virginia Cooperative Extension Research Presentation Award, Specialist Category, (second place), Virginia Tech, Virginia Cooperative Extension
  • 2012,  Virginia Cooperative Extension Research Presentation Award, Specialist Category, (first place) Virginia Tech, Virginia Cooperative Extension
  • 2011, Faculty Extension Award,  Virginia Tech, Department of Agriculture and Extension Education
  • 2008, Marvin & Ruth Glock Research Award for Outstanding Dissertation, Cornell University, Department of Education
  • 2007, Julian E. Butterworth Award for Outstanding Dissertation Proposal, Cornell University, Department of Education
  • 2006, Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant, Cornell University, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

Dr. Kim Niewolny’s teaching, extension, and research activities are highly integrated and center on the role adult and community education plays in historical and emerging agricultural and community development with a specific focus on "civic agriculture" and community-based food systems within the frameworks of the land-grant system and civil society, and the interactions between the two.  Her scholarship emphasizes asset-based community development; Action Research/Community-based Participatory Research; and social change theories through sociocultural, transformative, and social movement learning frameworks. Dr. Niewolny holds research training and experience in qualitative research methods; special interest in discourse analysis and narrative inquiry. Current funded research and extension initiatives center on beginning farmer training and program development, community food security, and farm-to-school program development.  Kim serves as the Director of the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program (VBFRCP), a state-wide coalition-based Extension program that aims to improve opportunities for viable farm start-up and sustainability. Additionally, she is a co-director of the USDA AFRI funded Appalachian Foodshed Project (AFP), a multi-state initiative focusing on enhancing community food security in the Appalachian regions of Virginia, North Carolina, and West Virginia. In addition to teaching graduate courses in community development, adult education, and food systems,  Dr. Niewolny provides teaching leadership in Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ interdisciplinary, undergraduate minor in Civic Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) where the teaching and learning practices are rooted in experiential and service learning. 

Recent Grant Projects (selected)

Niewolny, K., (PI), Morgan, K., Archibald, T., Crutchfield, W., Terry, K., Saacke, R., & Pickering, R. (2014-2017).  USDA, NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program (VBFRCP): A Participatory Beginning Farmer and Rancher Education and Training Initiative. $724,828.

Niewolny, K. (PI) ,  Ohanehi, D., Perumpral, J., Robertson, T. (2014-2018). USDA, NIFA AgrAbility Program. AgrAbility Virginia. $718,806.

Niewolny, K. (PI), Morgan, K., Isbell, C., Scott, K., Nartea, T., Kloetzli, C., Callan, P. (July 2014-June 2015). USDA Extension Risk Management Education, Southern Center. A Risk Management Initiative of the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program. $48,073.

Niewolny, K. (PI),  Bendfeldt, E., Walker, M., Hodges, S. Seibel, M., Crutchfield, W., Westfall-Rudd, D.  Integrated Internal Competitive Grants Program. March 2013-June 30, 2014.  Growing the Next Generation: Coalition Model Assessment & Training Initiative of the Virginia Beginning Farmer Rancher Coalition Program. $45,000

Bendfeldt, E. (PI), Yancey, M., Galbraith  J., Grisso, B., Niewolny, K., Mize, T., Ohlwiler, T., Hilleary, J., & Love, K.  2013-2016. Natural Resource Conservation Service, Soil Conservation Grant.  Healthy Farms from the Soil Up: Finding Common Ground.  Natural Resource Conservation Service, Soil Conservation Grant. $148,218

Zoellner, J. (PI), Hill, J., Carrington, A., Totten, T., Niewolny, K.  College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, Integrated Internal Competitive Grants Program.  March 2013-June 30, 2014. Planting Seeds for Change: Community Garden Initiative of The Dan River Partnership for a Healthy Community. $45,000

Tanaka, K. (PI), Niewolny, K. Velandia, M., Hodges, S. & Jacobson, K.  USDA Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE).  2013-2015. Mapping Sustainable Farm Systems: An Integrated Focus on Upper South New Producers as Catalysts of Good Stewardship, $270,000

Clark S. (PI),  Niewolny K, Hodges S., Brown, C., Schroder-Moreno, M.  NIFA-AFRI Global Food Security.  2011-2016. Enhancing Food Security by Cultivating Resilient Food Systems and Communities: Place-based Foodshed Analysis from Research to Community Practice, $2,436,480

Niewolny, K. (PI), Benson, M.  USDA Specialty Crop Competitive Grant. 2010-2013. Increasing the Competitiveness of  Virginia Specialty Crop and Disadvantaged Farmers through a Statewide Situational Assessment of the Virginia Farm-to-School Program, $29,500

Niewolny, K. (PI), Moore, D., Rudd, R., Hodges, S.  USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. 2010-2013. VA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Project, $743,872

Extension:  My appointment at Virginia Tech includes a 40% allocation for Extension programs. With this time, I have focused my efforts in two related program areas: 1) beginning farmer training and program development and 2) Community Viability’s community food system program development.  These programming activities primarily function to provide collaborative-based and systems-level training in and resource information about viable models, approaches, and strategies that strengthen agricultural profitability, environmental sustainability, and community wellbeing with a focus on new farmers and farming initiatives.  

The first area of my Extension work, beginning farmer training and program development, is evident through the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program (VBFRCP), a state-wide coalition-based Extension program that aims to improve opportunities for viable farm start-up and sustainability.  As the state-level specialist and program director (PD), I lead this multi-organizational and interdisciplinary Coalition comprising farm businesses; Extension faculty, federal, state, and local agencies, and non-profit organizations serving the agricultural community.  Since 2010, the VBFRCP has collaboratively developed a state-wide assessment of program and delivery needs and preferences; whole farm planning curriculum for farm start-up in Virginia; seven whole farm planning programs with Coalition stakeholders; online resources and webinar series; and farmer-farmer mentoring. What is unique to this VCE program is the community-based participatory approach that drives the work and its partnerships. Thus the VBFRCP not only provides farmer training to enhance start-up success but focuses on building organizational capacity across the agricultural sector to address the complex start-up needs of the next generation. 

The second area of my Extension work involves collaboration with the VCE Community Viability Program to enhance Extension faculty knowledge of practical strategies to enhance community food systems and community food security.  These efforts are best illustrated through recent integrated activity that requires community-based participatory research methods and non-formal teaching and learning approaches. Recent educational programming includes: 1) VCE Virginia Farm-to-Table Initiative; 2) Appalachian region coalition buidling and community food assements through the USDA AFRI funded Appalachian Foodshed Project (AFP), a multi-state initiative focusing on enhancing community food security in the Appalachian regions of Virginia, North Carolina, and West Virginia.; 3) Virgina Farm to School Program Assesment and Enahcment Project; and  4) National Leadership and senior editor of the eXtension Community of Pratiace (CoP), Community, Local, and Regional Food Systems.

Outreach:   As part of my outreach goals to bridge higher education and extension opportunities in community-based food systems, I serve as the Chair of the Sustainable Agriculture Education Association (SAEA), a national professional organization that promotes and supports the development, application, research, and exchange of best teaching and learning practices in sustainable agriculture education and curricula through communication, training, development, and collaborative activities for teachers, trainers, and learners.

AEE 6014: Theoretical Foundations of Non-formal Learning (even spring semesters)

AEE/HNFE 6984: Theory & Practice of Community-based Participatory Research (even fall semesters)

AEE 5014: Principles and Methods of Non-formal Teaching and Learning (summer II)

AEE 4304/5304G:  Community Education and Development (odd fall semesters)

ALS 5434G Advanced Concepts in Community Food Systems (odd spring semesters)

ALS 2204:  Introduction to Civic Agriculture (fall semesters)

Select Refereed Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Misyak, S., Ledlie Johnson, M., McFerren, M., Niewolny, K., Hosig, K. & Serrano, E. (2014). Understanding low-income Virginians’ perceptions of healthy food, local food, and food access: Implication for nutrition programming. In Thomas, C. I. P. (Ed.), Food insecurity in the United States. Common Grounds: Champaign, IL.

Bryant, L., Niewolny, K., Watson, E., Clark, S. (2014). Complicated spaces: Negotiating collaborative teaching and interdisciplinarity in higher education, The Journal of Effective Teaching. 14(2), 83-101.

Zanko, A., Hill, J., Estabrooks, P, Niewolny, K., Zoellner, J. (2014). Evaluating community gardens in a health disparate region: A qualitative case study approach. Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition. 9:1–33.

Hightower, L.*, Niewolny, K., & Brennan, M. A. (2013). Immigrant farming programs and social capital: Evaluating community and economic outcomes through social capital theory. Community Development: The Journal of the Community Development Society. 44(5), 582-596.

Clark, S., Byker, C., Niewolny, K., Helms, J. (2013).  Framing an undergraduate minor through the Civic Agriculture and Food Systems Curriculum.  North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Journal. 57(2), 56-67

Niewolny, K., Grossman, J., Byker, C., Helms, J., Clark, S., Cotton, J., Jacobsen, K. (2012).  Sustainable agriculture education and civic engagement: The significance of community-university partnerships in the new agricultural paradigm. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. 2(3), 27–42.

Jacobsen, K., Niewolny, K., Schroeder-Moreno, M., Van Horn, M., Harmon, A., Chen Fanslow, Y., Williams, M., & Parr, D.  (2012). Sustainable agriculture undergraduate degree programs: A land-grant university mission." Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 2(3), 13–26.

Benson, M., Hightower, L., Bendfeldt, E., Tyler-Mackey, C., Niewolny, K., & Grover, G. (2012). Surveying agrifood stakeholders to identify priorities as part of a Virginia food system assessment. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 3(1) 215-234.

Niewolny, K. & Wilson, A. (2011). “Social learning” for/in adult education? A discursive review of what it means for learning to be “social.” In Sharan B. Merriam & André P. Grace (Ed.), The Jossey-Bass Reader on Contemporary Issues and Trends in Adult Education. Jossey-Bass: CA.

Niewolny, K., & Lillard, P.  (2010). Expanding the boundaries of beginning farmer training and program development:  A review of contemporary initiatives to cultivate a new generation of American farmers.  Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 1(1), 65-88.

Niewolny, K., & Wilson, A. (2009). What happened to the promise?  A critical (re)orientation of two sociocultural learning traditions. Adult Education Quarterly. 60(1), 26-45. 

 

Select Refereed Conference Proceedings Papers (national and international)

Niewolny, K. (2013).  Learning for food system justice: Exploring action research and interdisciplinary knowledge production in the local food movement. In Proceedings of the 54th Annual Adult Education Research Conference. University of Missouri: St. Louis, MO.

Tanaka, K., Niewolny, K., Jacobsen, K., & Brislen, L. (2012). Mapping sustainability, farming sustainably: Mapping approach in the study of sustainable farming systems.  In Proceedings of the XIII World Congress of Rural Sociology, Lisbon: Portugal.

Seibel, M., & Niewolny, K.  (2011).  Development of peer educators within paraprofessional community-based adult education models: An experiential learning perspective. In Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Adult Education Research Conference (AERC).  University of Toronto:  Toronto, Canada.  

Niewolny, K. &, Grudens-Schuck, N., Wilson, W.  (2010).  Learning about/for Sustainability as Contested Space:  Contemporary Characterizations of Adult Education in the Sustainable Agriculture Movement.  In Proceedings of the 51st Annual Adult Education Research Conference.  Sacramento State University:  Sacramento, CA.

Niewolny, K.  (2009).  Discourse as evidence:  Making space for critical discourse analysis (CDA) in adult educational research.  In Proceedings of the 39th Annual SCUTREA Conference, University of Cambridge, UK. 

Niewolny, K., & Wilson, A. (2008).  Seeing what needs to be seen, saying what needs to be said:  Discourse analysis for critical adult education.  In Proceedings of the 49th Annual Adult Education Research Conference.  The University of Missouri: St. Louis, MO.

Niewolny, K., & Wilson, A.  (2007).  Economic knowledge production of the Growing New Farmers Consortium, 2000-2005:  A critical discourse analysis of adult agricultural education.  In Proceedings of the 48th Annual Adult Education Research Conference. Mount Saint Vincent University:  Halifax, Nova Scotia.

 

Select Refereed Presentation Papers

Kennedy, R., Niewolny, K., Ciamillo, S., D’Adamo-Damery, P., Jonson, S., MacAuley, L., Savran Al-Haik, H.., & Trutko, A.  (2013, June).  Co-learning in a graduate-level food systems course:  Interdisciplinary perspectives on course-based action research.  North America Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Conference, Blacksburg, Virginia.

D'Adamo-Damery, P., Niewolny, K., D'Adamo-Damery, N., & Ziegler, P. (2013, June) Negotiating complexity and community food security in central Appalachia.  Paper presentation at the 2013 Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society Conference, East Lansing, MI.

Helms, J., & Niewolny, K. (2013, June). Enhancing the learning landscape through the scholarship of sustainable agriculture education:  Building Community-University partnerships.  Paper presentation at the 2013 Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society Conference, East Lansing, MI.

D'Adamo-Damery, P., Niewolny, K., & D'Adamo-Damery, N.  (2013, February). Enhancing community food security in rural Appalachia: From the bottom Up. Paper presented at the 44th Southern Rural Sociological Association Conference, Orlando, FL.

Niewolny, K., & Benson, M. (2013, January). Strengthening the Virginia farm to school program through a state-based program evaluation. Poster Presentation at the 2013 Virginia Cooperative Extension In-Service Conference.  Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.

Niewolny, K., Westfall-Rudd, D., Smith, Jr., M., Benson, M., & Helms, J. (2012, September). Whole farm planning as a framework for participatory-based education for beginning farmers and farm service providers: A lesson in collaboration. Presentation at the 5th National Sustainable Agriculture Education Association Conference, Corvallis, OR.

Benson, M.,& Niewolny, K.   (2012, June). A mixed methods assessment of the Virginia farm to school program. Paper presented at the 2012 Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Conference, New York City, NY.

Niewolny, K., Westfull-Rudd, D., Rudd, R., Hodges, S., Scott, K., Benson, M., & Smith, M. (2012, February). Community-based participatory research as a social change vehicle for cultivating new and beginning farmers in Virginia. Presentation at the 43rd Southern Rural Sociological Association Conference, Birmingham, AL.

Niewolny, K., Meyer, A.L., Lamie, D., & Dupont, T. (2011, August).    Local innovation for/with beginning farmers:  Four place-based approaches to beginning farmer training, mentoring, & program development.  Panel and paper presentation at the 2011 Sustainable Agriculture Education Association Conference, Lexington, KY.

Broyles, T., Niewolny, K, Clark, S., Doolittle, P.,& Watson, E., (2011, June).  Collaborative Teaching: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly? Annual Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching.  Washington D.C.

 

Select Referred Extension Publications

Benson, M., Niewolny, K., & Rudd, R. (In Press). An Evaluation of Program, Training and Resource Needs of Virginia Beginning Farmers and Ranchers:  Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program. Virginia Cooperative Extension. Virginia Tech.

Niewolny, K., Vallotton, A., Kloetzli, C. (In Press).  Introduction to Whole Farm Planning.  In Westfall-Rudd, D.M., & Niewolny, K.  (eds.)  Virginia Whole Farm Planning: An Educational Program for Farm Start-up and Development.  Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program.  Virginia Cooperative Extension. Virginia Tech.

Niewolny, K., Schmidt, K., Groover, G., Smith, M. (In Press).  Land Acquisition and Tenure.  In Westfall-Rudd, D.M., & Niewolny, K.  (eds.)  Virginia Whole Farm Planning: An Educational Program for Farm Start-up and Development.  Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program.  Virginia Cooperative Extension.   Virginia Tech.

Niewolny, K., Kloetzli, C., & Vallotton, A., (2103). Successful Farm Start-up for Beginners: Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program.   AEE-67P.  Virginia Cooperative Extension. Virginia Tech.

Bendfeldt, E., Tyler-Mackey, C., Benson, M., Hightower, L., & Niewolny, K. (2012). Virginia farm to table: Healthy farms and healthy food for the common wealth and common good. Virginia Cooperative Extension EDIS Publication, CV-3.

 

Select Extension and Outreach Publications (non-referred)

Kloetzli, C., & Vallotton, A., Niewolny, K. (2013).  Are you a Beginning Farmer?  Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program.   NR-91NP.  Virginia Cooperative Extension. Virginia Tech.

Niewolny, K. & McKay, S. (2013).  Technical Assistance and Resource Directory: Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program.   AEE-76NP.  Virginia Cooperative Extension. Virginia Tech.

Niewolny, K. , & Whitter-Cummings, A. (2013).  Virginia Beginning Farmer Profiles: Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program.   AEE-70NP.  Virginia Cooperative Extension. Virginia Tech.

Niewolny, K., & Gehrt, K., (2013).  Common ground:  Public impacts with the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition Program.  VT/0513/VCE-163.  Virginia Cooperative Extension. Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.

Niewolny, K., & Clark, S. (2013).  Collaborative teaching in the Civic Agriculture and Food Systems Minor: An interdisciplinary experience. Pedagogy in Practice, Center for Instructional Design and Educational Research (CIDER). Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.

 

Journal Review and Editorial Boards

  • eXtension Community of Practice Leadership Team, Local, Regional, and Community Food Systems Community of Practice. (Leadership Team and Co-Senior Editor)
  • International Journal of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education (Associate Editor)
    Journal of Extension (Reviewer)
  • Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension (Reviewer)
  • Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development (Reviewer)
  • North American Colleges & Teachers of Agriculture Journal (Reviewer)
  • Studies in Continuing Education (Reviewer)

Professional Organizations and Honor Societies

Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society (AFHVS)
American Education Research Association (AERA)
American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE)
Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS)
Commission of Professors of Adult Education (CPAE)
Community Development Society (CDS)
Sustainable Agriculture Education Association (SAEA) –Chair 2013; Vice Chair 2012
Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society
Xi Sigma Pi Natural Resources Honor Society