Sustainable Farming on the Urban Fringe: A Winter’s Tale of Two Fields

Two fields on opposite sides of one road.

Two fields on opposite sides of the same road.

Jack Rabin (CC ’78), NJAES director of farm programs, shares “Farm Calls” on the Sustainable Farming on the Urban Fringe blog. A picture is worth a thousand words in this post on cover crops.

This fall, a leading Jersey vegetable grower asked, “What’s with all the recent media hype about cover crops? I’m getting ads, USDA NRCS promotions and trade magazine articles about something we already know all about.”

He’s not alone in holding this opinion; ag agents have come to similar conclusions. “We know about cover crops. Farmers know about cover crops. Cover crops have been researched, demonstrated, and their costs and benefits established for over a century. There’s nothing innovative for growers and nothing new to teach.”

The thing is, many growers haven’t adopted cover crops. For example, take the fields I came across while driving down to a recent meeting. Who can resist checking out other farmers’ fields while traveling, whether it’s your neighbor down the road or fields far from home? On this detour, there were hundreds of acres seeded with a cover crop mix of cereal rye and oilseed radish (aka tillage radish). But, something caught my eye so I stopped to take a look. [Read more…]

Alumni Story: Arthur R. Brown, Jr. (GSNB-Horticulture ’77) – Always Jersey Fresh

New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Secretary of Agriculture Art Brown

New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Secretary of Agriculture Art Brown

Paging through the many personal photo albums that Art Brown’s staff and friends have compiled for him over the years, one is struck by his cheerful exuberance in the images. Clearly, Art Brown is a person who enjoyed his career as New Jersey’s longtime Secretary of Agriculture. And New Jersey enjoyed his valuable contributions during his decades-long tenure.

The leading architect of the popular “Jersey Fresh” marketing campaign that broke new ground by focusing on locally grown produce and became a model for such programs nationally, Art was tireless in promoting New Jersey agriculture in its various forms. He is shown tasting a spoonful of honey at a fair, eating Jersey corn or a leg of Jersey-bred turkey, posing with a prize-winning rabbit, sampling fresh oysters, picking pumpkins, sitting astride a cutting horse, making the rounds at the county fairs, shaking hands at the Horse Park of New Jersey, promoting Jersey Fresh products for school lunches, and on and on. [Read more…]

2014: A Year in Review at Rutgers

2014cropLooking forward to 2015, Rutgers Today takes a look back at the milestones, achievements and big stories of 2014 to bring back memories and remind all of us that Rutgers is a vibrant and diverse place to live, work and study. The following stories and videos on the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences were featured in the review:

80 Years After First Sighting, New Frog Species is Confirmed
A Rutgers researcher and team of scientists have proven that a new frog species is living in wetlands from Connecticut to North Carolina.

Super Bowl Weather Watcher: Rutgers Website Analyzes the Possibilities
Dave Robinson and his team at the Office of the New Jersey State Climatologist compiled 83 years worth of game day data on

Rutgers Alum Named U.S. Botanic Garden’s New Director
Working at a Renaissance era estate in Italy led Ari Novy to a doctoral program at Rutgers and a career path in plant science.

In Memoriam: Peter Rona, Renowned Explorer of the Deep Ocean, Dies at 79
Rona served as a science director of Volcanoes of the Deep Sea, an IMAX film that took viewers down to deep-sea vents in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

New zoo president follows passion

Growing up in New Jersey, Doug Piekarz (CC ’89) always had a love of nature. It’s something for which Piekarz, the newly named president and CEO of the Akron Zoo, gives credit to his grandfather, who had a cabin in the Catskills… Those experiences influenced Piekarz, who earned a degree in animal science from Rutgers University and a master’s degree in biology, ecology and evolution from Montclair State University.

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Rutgers gives landscapers, gardeners winter education

Since 1980, Rutgers University has offered the short course Landscape Plants Identification Selection and Application. Created by “Rutgers legend” Bruce “Doc” Hamilton, the course was based on the premise that the “plant must be seen in its environment.” …The class is now taught by Steve Kristoph (CC ’78, GSNB ’84-Horticulture), one of Hamilton’s original students. “He passed the torch onto Steve,” said Joe Canzano, landscape program coordinator of Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Office of Continuing Education. “They go out in the cold – no matter how cold – because that’s the only way Steve feels a student can learn about plants. In the plant scene, Steve is a very well known figure. I don’t think anyone loves plants more than Steve.”

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