What’s in Season from the Garden State: Farm to Fork Food Waste? It Depends on Your Perspective

What happens to the farm produce that doesn't make the grade? One use is to supply local food banks by "gleaning" the produce left in the field.

What happens to the farm produce that doesn’t make the grade? One use is to supply local food banks by “gleaning” the produce left in the field.

By Rick VanVranken, Agricultural and Resource Management Agent, Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension of Atlantic County

August “Augie” Wuillermin, co-owner/operator with his brother, Ed Jr., of Ed Wuillermin & Sons Farm in Hammonton, NJ turned in disgust and grumbled, “Some days I just have to stay out [of the packing house] when the peppers come in this way. It’s sickening. Seems like such a waste!”

Is waste an opportunity lost?

Economists talk about ‘opportunity cost’, loosely defined as the value of something that must be given up in order to do something else. Every resource has alternative uses, so every choice has opportunity cost(s).

Waste comes into play when the investment of time, energy and labor does not create the intended outcome and the alternatives do little to cover those costs. Hence, from grower to consumer, technologies and practices are employed to reduce potential losses as much as possible. Sorting machines fine tune the sizing and separating of defective produce. Packaging engineers design containers that maximize air flow to allow efficient cooling while maintaining strength to protect the fragile contents during storage and shipping. [Read more...]

Boost your child’s chance of growing up healthy

A new project launched by Rutgers aims to help parents creates healthier, happier, safer homes and lifestyles. Parents have so many time and budget pressures these days, it makes it a challenge to be sure their kids have what they need to grow up healthy. "We spent thousands of hours surveying, observing, and talking to parents across New Jersey to find out what we could do to help them do an even better job raising their kids," says Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Rutgers Professor. "We used all this information to create the new HomeStyles program."

Read the entire article at APP.com »

Rutgers Community Comes Together to Help Fight the Spread of the Ebola Virus in West Africa

Jim Simon sorting supplies bound for Liberia at the REHS building on the Livingston campus.

Jim Simon sorting supplies bound for Liberia at the REHS building on the Livingston campus.

In August, Jim Simon, professor of plant biology and pathology at Rutgers, “just couldn’t sit still and do nothing” when, like the rest of the world, he began to get a better sense of the growing threat of the Ebola virus in West Africa through daily news reports. In addition, he was getting frantic requests for medical supplies and protective gear from colleagues attached to partner institutions in Liberia, in particular the JFK hospital at the University of Liberia and the Agave teaching clinic at Cuttington College.

Simon felt he needed to mobilize some effort to get desperately-needed supplies to folks on the ground, especially in Liberia, which has emerged as the country hardest hit by the epidemic. A member of the Princeton Fire Department, he’s been trained in Incident Command & Emergency Response and was a Lieutenant in Hook and Ladder Fire Company. “Because of my training, I had a sense of the need for logistical and practical support by the folks who are in the midst of dealing with an emergency,” said Simon.

He and several Rutgers colleagues, including faculty and staff from the Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs, Center for African Studies, School of Pharmacy, The New Jersey School of Medicine in Newark,  Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick and myriad other units, identified Liberia as the beneficiary of their immediate fundraising efforts due to the existing ties between Rutgers and Liberia. [Read more...]

Five safe food handling tips grammy never taught you

They are lurking in our refrigerators and multiplying in the crevices of our sinks and cutting boards. Bacteria. Pathogens. Viruses that may wreak havoc on your digestive tract. One in six people will get sick from food poisoning this year, according to foodsafety.gov. It’s enough to make even the most conscientious of cooks cringe, and maybe reach for that stack of takeout menus…Don Schaffner, a food-safety researcher at Rutgers University, advised consumers to rinse all raw produce before eating it, "if for no other reason than to rinse off dirt," he said.

Read the entire article at news-press.com »

Kick up your fiber quotient to ward off disease, obesity

Dietary fiber has long been touted for its digestive benefits, but the scientific research is booming on fiber’s ability to boost immune health and reduce risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers…"Consumers say they’re interested in getting more fiber; they know the health benefits and say they are motivated by them. And plenty of fiber-rich foods are available in stores," stated Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, Ph.D., R.D., F.A.D.A., professor at Rutgers, at the Food and Fiber Summit.

Read the entire article at chicagotribune.com »