Regional food center award will benefit Burlington County

The Rutgers Food Innovation Center in Cumberland County was the only winner in New Jersey among 50 selected from 800 applications to the U.S. Small Business Administration for its first Growth Accelerator Fund. The recipients represent 31 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and come from a broad set of industries and sectors, from manufacturing to tech start-ups to farming, according to Al Titone, the administration’s New Jersey district director.

Read the entire article at burlingtoncountytimes.com »

Alumni Story: Two Recent Grads Take ‘Growing Up’ to New Heights

Michael A. Coraggio (Left) and Ryan M. Burrows (right)

Michael A. Coraggio (Left) and Ryan M. Burrows (right)

The concept of living walls – also called vertical gardens – isn’t entirely new, but Michael Coraggio (Cook ’06) and Ryan Burrows (GSNB ’13) have turned it into an innovative business that promotes beauty and sustainability with practical and environmentally sound applications.

First “invented” in the 1930s, a living wall turns an impervious vertical surface into an attractive and ecologically beneficial space. This architectural approach has surged in popularity in recent years, especially in urban settings with scarce green areas, office buildings and other structures that beg for aesthetic improvement.

Their business, EcoWalls®, takes a soil-less, hydroponic approach to growing and maintaining a vertical garden, rather than using soil or other media. The advantage is that a non-soil medium allows for more consistent results and, unlike soil, does not break down or decay. This reduces maintenance and replacement costs. [Read more...]

Student Filmmaker Documents Jim Simon’s Horticultural Innovation Work in Zambia

Jeanpaul Isaacs, right,  recently went to Zambia to make a documentary about the work of James E. Simon, left. Photography: Nick Romanenko

Jeanpaul Isaacs, right, recently went to Zambia to make a documentary about the work of James E. Simon, left. Photography: Nick Romanenko

Rutgers Center for Digital Filmmaking recent graduate Jeanpaul Isaacs (SAS ’14, SC&I ’14) spent the final semester of his senior year working on a documentary on SEBS Professor of Plant Biology and Pathology Jim Simon’s work with African women farmers to develop markets for their indigenous crops in Zambia. Isaacs previous work was awarded best picture at Campus Moviefest 2013, leading him to a rare stint as a student filmmaker member of Team Oscar at this year’s Oscar award ceremony.  Simon also has been highly awarded for his work, receiving both an AIARD Special Service Award and the Scientific Excellence Award by the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development this year. Read more on Isaac’s activities at Rutgers Magazine.

Business leaders say climate change threatens economy

While the impact of climate change typically draws environmentalists and political types to the issue, it’s now the focus of a group of high-powered executives who say Americans should view it as a business risk. In a report called "Risky Business," business leaders including billionaire Michael Bloomberg and former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO Henry Paulson compare climate change to an interest-only loan, a risky form of borrowing that helped trigger the housing crisis…The report was prepared by economic research firm Rhodium Group, with the research led by Robert Kopp, a climate scientist at Rutgers University, and economist Solomon Hsiang of the University of California, Berkeley.

Read the entire article at CBSNews.com »

Big Plans for NJ Water Infrastructure Will Mean Bigger Bills for Customers

With New Jersey facing an estimated $40 billion in costs over the next two or three decades to fix its aging water infrastructure, the state may need to set up a program to help lower income residents pay their escalating water and sewer bills…For poorer residents in urban areas where problems are the most pressing – underscored by seemingly weekly water main breaks in sometimes century-old water lines – the cost could be dramatic, according to Daniel Van Abs, an associate professor at Rutgers University.

Read the entire article at NJSpotlight.com »