From Steve Reiners, Horticulture Section chair:
Friday, we received the sad news that our colleague and friend, Robin Bellinder passed away unexpectedly.
Robin Bellinder received her Bachelors from Michigan State University and her Masters and Ph.D. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. In 1984, she joined the Cornell University Horticulture Department as an Assistant Professor, with a program focused on weed management for vegetable crops. Robin was a national and international leader in her field. She was the author of more than 80 research publications and more than 200 publications focused on growers. She was the past President of the Northeastern Weed Science Society, and in 2005 was named the recipient of Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Applied Research.
She was mentor to numerous graduate students and advisor to many undergraduates. Despite her busy schedule she even managed to add teaching to her responsibilities and co-taught Commercial Vegetable Production. She was a tireless fighter for New York vegetable growers, always looking for new tools to manage weeds. Her research included all aspects of weed management, from traditional herbicides to cultural and chemical alternatives. She pioneered research in the weed suppressive ability of cover crops. A sabbatical leave to Sweden in 1991 introduced Robin to new and innovative European cultivation equipment that she brought back to New York.
Robin worried about people, whether it was poor farmers in southern Asia or hungry families in the Southern Tier. She led the effort at Cornell to provide fresh vegetables from plots at the Homer C. Thompson research farm to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. Robin realized that rather than fruit and vegetables being put in compost bins, they could wind up on dinner tables and feed hungry families. Since 2004, Cornell has donated more than 1 million pounds of produce from the Thompson farm.
Robin was very involved in international agriculture and traveled throughout Central America and Asia. After a visit to India, Robin pioneered the use of backpack sprayers for small growers. She said “anyone who thinks farmers in India should control weeds without herbicides should spend an afternoon in a field there with a hoe”. Her work in India changed lives and she was elected a Fellow of the Indian Weed Science Society for her contributions to Indian agriculture.
Please keep Robin’s family in your thoughts and prayers.
A memorial service for Robin will take place on Saturday, November 21 at 3 p.m. at the Wagner Funeral Home, 110 South Geneva Street, Ithaca. Visiting hours will be held prior to the service beginning at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, Robin’s family suggests donations in her name to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier.