Oyster farmers ride the wave of consumer tastes – Lawmaker offers his help to the shellfish growers

Aquaculture farmers in Middle Township are riding the leading edge of an oyster renaissance, a Rutgers marine scientist said recently, and last week independent growers in the area got the vocal support of a federal lawmaker in their pursuit to revitalize a once-great state industry…Not long ago, the lawmaker’s office reached out to Lisa Calvo, a Rutgers marine scientist working with eight oyster farmers in the township, and one in Cumberland County.

Read the entire article at Middle Township Gazette »

Five Reasons to Set Up Shop in the Garden State, Birthplace of M&Ms, Campbell Soup…and Bon Jovi

Commercial food production in progress at Food Innovation Center North, Piscataway, NJ

Commercial food production in progress at Food Innovation Center- North, located in Piscataway, NJ.

The birthplace of Allen Ginsberg, Frank Sinatra and Bruce Springsteen, New Jersey is also home to food industry giants like Campbell Soup, Goya Foods and Unilever USA. But is the Garden State doing what it takes to attract the next generation of food and beverage businesses? FoodNavigator-USA joined reporters for a whistle-stop tour led by Choose New Jersey to find out. (Editor’s Note: Check out items 3, 5 & 9 for Rutgers’ contribution.) Read more in FoodNavigator-USA.

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.