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

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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 »

Newark’s Cherry Blossoms Thrive with Rutgers’ Help

Paul Cowie demonstrates proper pruning protocol during the Master Gardener training.

Paul Cowie demonstrates proper pruning protocol while training Rutgers Master Gardeners.

Arborist Paul Cowie (CC ’85) and Jan Zientek (CC’82), senior program coordinator of Rutgers Cooperative Extension in Essex County, play key roles in maintaining the nation’s largest collection of flowering cherry trees in Essex County’s Branch Brook Park, leading a group of dedicated Rutgers Master Gardeners from Essex County. Branch Brook was the first county park in the nation, conceived by Frederick Law Olmsted, famous for his work on Central Park, and was designed by the Olmsted Brothers firm after he retired. The current collection of 4,300 trees, an expansion of the original 2,000 planted in the 1920s, is a testament to the efforts to restore the park to its former glory.  Read more at Rutgers Today.

Newark’s Cherry Blossoms Thrive with Rutgers’ Help

New Jersey is known for the industrial landscape along the turnpike and the landmarks of the Jersey Shore. But one of the state’s greatest treasures may be its least well known- the nation’s largest collection of flowering cherry trees in Essex County’s Branch Brook Park… For the last decade, Rutgers alumnus Paul Cowie has been part of an effort to restore and expand the collection that erupts with striking pink blossoms each spring… Rutgers’ connection to the state’s hidden treasure runs deep. A crew of volunteers trained through the Rutgers Master Gardeners Program works with Cowie throughout the year to prune, maintain and monitor the health of the cherry trees… The master gardeners started volunteering in the park after they took a pruning class with Cowie. The volunteers receive training through the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station as part of a national program to increase environmental awareness and share university research with the public. Their work in Branch Brook Park helps fulfill their mission of public outreach and education, said Jan Zientek, a department head for the experiment station who advises the master gardeners in Essex County.

Read the entire article at www.thejerseytomatopress.com »