Fish exchange set to start back up in Lyndhurst

After a winter hiatus, a fish exchange program that allows people to swap fish caught in the Passaic River for tilapia raised in Newark is set to start back up. The fish exchange is operated by the Rutgers VETS program and funded by the Lower Passaic Cooperating Parties Group (CPG), an organization of different entities believed responsible for contaminating the Passaic River. The lower 17-mile stretch of the Passaic River, from Dundee Dam in Garfield to the mouth of the Newark Bay, is an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund Site… Amy Rowe, Ph.D, is part of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension and helps direct the training.

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Spring is planting season, but ‘giving season’ for Rutgers vets is year-round

While the 2015 class of the Rutgers Veterans Environmental and Technology Solutions (VETS) program graduated in December and the ground outside isn’t ready yet for spring planting, some of the program’s graduates worked through the cold months of winter to make sure those at the Willing Heart Community Center always had fresh vegetables… Amy Rowe, VETS co-director, noted "The classroom portion of the VETS program provides unemployed veterans with the skills they need to get back to work, but the hands-on field experience has come through partnerships and engagement with the community. The trainees work to revitalize distressed neighborhoods through the installation of community gardens, landscape beautification, and by teaching the citizens of Newark how to eat healthy and grow their own food."

Read the entire article at Newark Inc. »

Dirty Little Secrets: In Your Fish

Standing on the bank where the Passaic River meets the Newark Bay in New Jersey, Oswaldo Avad reels in a small bluefish and a piece of a grocery bag. "One piece plastic and one fish," Avad said in broken English. The Passaic River is one of the most contaminated bodies of water in the country. More than 100 companies are potentially responsible for dumping toxic waste in it for decades before that was outlawed. Fifty-four of the liable companies have formed a consortium and given Rutgers University $1.1 million to create a fish exchange program. Rutgers buys young tilapia from a fish farm in New Jersey and raises them in a Newark greenhouse. The waste produced by the fish is used to grow lettuce and herbs for a local food bank.

Read the entire article at WNYC News »

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…]

Growing New Jobs in Newark for Veterans [Video]

"There wasn’t a lot of jobs in Newark asking for someone to survey or make maps," Rutgers graduate Rodney Spencer said. After serving his country in the U.S. Army, Spencer couldn’t find a way to put his skills to use at home. Now he’s a graduate of Rutgers Veterans Environmental Technology Solutions program – an effort to put unemployed vets in the Newark area back to work. "It’s just nice being here, seeing the community connect with a really valuable resource – the returning veterans," Senior Program Coordinator Jan Zientek said.

Read the entire article at NJTV News »