Starting a food business? Rutgers incubator can help

Patrick Leger stood in a processing room at Rutgers Food Innovation Center on Friday, watching as an assembly line of bottles were filled with pure strained tomatoes, First Field’s latest product… "They need a place to go," said Lou Cooperhouse, the center’s director. "Our job is to find a pathway for them to go after they leave our facility."

Read the entire article at Press of Atlantic City »

Student-run Biotech Start-up Earned a $500,000 Commitment from Foundation Venture Capital Group

Seated, from left, Prof. James Simon and Michael Johnson. Standing, from left, Nick Crider and Tom Villani. Photo by Peter Byron

Seated, from left, Prof. James Simon and Michael Johnson. Standing, from left, Nick Crider and Tom Villani. Photo by Peter Byron

Visikol Inc., a student-run biotech startup from Rutgers, has gained a commitment of up to $500,000 in funding towards commercialization of its technology from Foundation Venture Capital, LLC. Named after its product Visikol, a biological clearing agent used in scientific and medical research, the company was founded by two current Rutgers doctoral students, CEO Michael Johnson and chief science officer Tom Villani, along with co-inventors James Simon, distinguished professor in the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology , and Adolfina Koroch, a visiting scientist at Rutgers. The company has also recently been approved for space in the Commercialization Center for Innovative Technologies, an incubator operated by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. Read more from the Office of Research and Economic Development.

Climate change is taking from the poor and giving to the rich

The rich are getting richer and poor are getting poorer. It’s the kind of populist refrain that’s become common on the campaign trail during U.S. primary season, but this time, it’s coming out of the mouths of climate scientists… "What we find is that natural resources like fish are being pushed around by climate change, and that changes who gets access to them," Malin Pinsky, professor of ecology and evolution at Rutgers, said in a press release.

Read the entire article at UPI »

China hates GMOs. Problem is, China really needs GMOs

China has a fifth of the world’s people, but only about 7 percent of its arable land. Food security is a national obsession – so it only seemed natural when, earlier this month, state-owned ChemChina announced its bid to buy the pesticide- and seed-producing giant Syngenta, in what is likely to be the biggest acquisition in the country’s history. Technology, the Party seemed to say, and especially genetically modified crops, are the key to a sustainable future. "There was a widespread public fear that, ‘Oh, maybe they’re trying to sneak this through too!’" says Carl Pray, an economist at Rutgers who has researched Chinese attitudes toward GMOs.

Read the entire article at Wired »

2015 NJAES Annual Report Available for New Jersey Stakeholders

NJAES 2015 Annual Report coverThe 2015 NJAES Annual Report, produced by the Office of the Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources Robert Goodman, was unveiled on Feb. 11 at the final day of the New Jersey Agricultural Convention in Atlantic City.

The report highlights the research and extension activities of the experiment station under the six broad categories of commercial agriculture; environment and natural resources; fisheries and aquaculture; food, nutrition and health; home, lawn and garden; and youth and community development. In addition, the key areas of economic development and fundraising support round out a comprehensive look at the impact of NJAES on the lives of NJ residents, communities, and businesses. For your copy, contact the SEBS & NJAES Office of CommunicationsView the interactive 2015 NJAES Annual Report.

FIC to Lead Feasibility Study with City of Paterson to Create Food Business Incubation Program

FIC banner.

FIC banner.

The Rutgers Food Innovation Center (FIC) has been awarded a contract from the Paterson Restoration Corporation (PRC) to lead a feasibility study on creating a food business incubation program in Paterson, NJ. The grant to Rutgers was for $70,000, with funding to the PRC by the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

The PRC and FIC will hold informational meetings on Feb. 23 for startup entrepreneurs and established food businesses, in order to gather community input into the planning process at the Hamilton Club of Passaic County Community College, located at 32 Church Street, Paterson.

“We are very excited to have been given the opportunity to assist the City of Paterson in moving forward with this project,” said Lou Cooperhouse, director of the Rutgers Food Innovation Center. “There is tremendous consumer demand in the specialty food industry nationally, and a great deal of entrepreneurship in Paterson and the surrounding region.” [Read more…]

Rutgers study to help Paterson with new initiative for start-up food businesses

In an effort to convert a 6th Ward warehouse into a center for assisting start-up food businesses, the City of Paterson has awarded a $70,000 consulting contract to a Rutgers-based group. Paterson already has allocated more than $2 million for the project, including $1.3 million in federal community development funds to buy the building at 163-177 Pennsylvania Avenue. Included in the $2 million already allocated is $700,000 in federal money to acquire equipment for the program. The contract with the Rutgers Food Innovation Center will help the city determine the scope of the program and how it will operate…"We are very excited to have been given the opportunity to assist the City of Paterson in moving forward with this project," said Lou Cooperhouse, director of the Rutgers food center.

Read the entire article at NorthJersey.com »

Rutgers Clean Energy and Food Innovation Incubators Leading Efforts to Improve Environmental Sustainability within New Jersey Food Industry

BakeryRoom

Rutgers EcoComplex was awarded a $157,517 grant from the U.S. EPA, Region II Pollution Prevention Program that’s aimed at helping New Jersey’s food processors, storage and distribution facilities to become more energy efficient and environmentally sustainable through upgrading refrigeration systems, using safer chemicals, reducing water and energy use, and increasing employee training.

“This project will require working closely with the existing food processing, cold storage and distribution facilities to evaluate their current practices and provide them with customized technical assistance and training to improve their sustainability,” says Serpil Guran, director of the Rutgers EcoComplex and the project’s principal investigator.

Among the partners in this project, which will target food supply chain facilities in Newark and Jersey City, are the Rutgers Food Innovation Center (FIC), the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Newark Refrigerated Warehouse LLC. [Read more…]

NJAES Center Provides Science and Expertise to Help NJ Winemakers Succeed

Cabernet franc grapes maturing at Bellview Vineyard, Atlantic County.

Cabernet franc grapes maturing at Bellview Vineyard, Atlantic County.

As more New Jersey farmers grow grapes for winemaking, Rutgers is playing a key role in that growth, providing the science and expertise to help them tap into an increasingly profitable agricultural sector in the state. Last year, the New Jersey Center for Wine Research and Education at Rutgers was launched to work in partnership with the industry to develop the best grape variety in the state. Read more at Rutgers Today.

Rutgers EcoComplex Awarded USDA Grant to Study Feasibility of Renewable Energy from Food and Animal Waste

L-R: Howard Henderson, USDA; Dave Specca, Rutgers EcoComplex; Douglas Fisher, NJ Secretary of Agriculture; and Rob Fulper III, Fulper Family Farm.

L-R: Howard Henderson, USDA; Dave Specca, Rutgers EcoComplex; Douglas Fisher, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture; and Rob Fulper III, Fulper Family Farm. Photo: Cynthia O’Grady.

 

The Rutgers EcoComplex was awarded a Rural Business Development Grant of $19,000 by the USDA Rural Development Office to perform a technical and economic feasibility study of co-digestion of food waste and dairy manure at Fulper Family Farms, located in West Amwell Township.

Announcing the grant was Howard Henderson, the state director of USDA Rural Development Office, who was joined by New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher at Fulper Farm on Nov. 23 to also award a $250,000 USDA grant to Fulper Family Farms to expand its dairy product line.

While the ultimate goal is to spur rural development and job creation in Hunterdon County, the grant to the EcoComplex, a unit of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES), will study the feasibility of mixing food waste and animal manure in an anaerobic digester to produce renewable energy in the form of biomethane, explained Dave Specca, assistant director of the EcoComplex, who accepted the grant on behalf of Rutgers. [Read more…]