On October 26, the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) celebrated its first Entrepreneurship Agriculture (EA) Day on the George H. Cook Campus. This event was part of the Entrepreneurial Agriculture Program initiated at the School in spring 2013 and comprised the teaching of a Jr./Sr. Colloquium on Entrepreneurial Agriculture, a competitive student internship on Entrepreneurship Agriculture and the formation of a student club whose main focus is to promote entrepreneurship in food and agriculture at the School. A total of 30 participants, drawn from within and outside Rutgers University, attended the inaugural Entrepreneurship Agriculture Day.
The key events included poster and PowerPoint presentations by senior EA interns Sabedo Argueta, Environmental Business Economics; Adrian Cardona, Food Science; Austin Kaiser, Environmental Business Economics; Jessica Murtagh, Animal Sciences; and Matthew Smith, Agricultural Science; plus a keynote address by Robert J. (Bob) Morris, president of AndMore Associates, from Washington, D.C.
Seniors Sabedo Argueta and Matthew Smith shared their internship experience at the New Brunswick Community Farmer’s Market in an action-packed presentation featuring interaction of interns with the New Brunswick community in greenhouse vegetable and specialty crop production and state-of-the-art urban agriculture in Chicago, Detroit and Milwaukee during a one-week visit to the three cities to learn about urban agriculture. Senior Adrian Cardona, who interned at Rutgers’ Food Innovation Center-South and the Rutgers Agricultural Research and Extension Center (RAREC), both in Bridgeton, NJ, focused his presentation on his experience at the FIC-South. Cardona cherished the opportunity to work with a startup company at FIC, which gave him an insight into the nuts and bolts of setting up a food company in the U.S. EA intern Austin Kaiser interned at Rutgers’ EcoComplex, in Bordentown, NJ, and gave a stimulating talk on his experience in entrepreneurship opportunities offered in the alternative energy field, especially the conversion of municipal waste into biogas used for driving aquaponic operations, among other applications. Kaiser’s horizon expanded in the area of cutting-edge marketing apps to facilitate business in production agriculture and alternative energy industries. EA intern Jessica Murtagh interned at RAREC, as well, and she shared a poster presentation on her field experience in vegetable production for the fresh market, including asparagus, tomatoes and bush bean. She is also interested in the rare pet industry and appreciated the opportunity to have a hands-on experience in crop production, which she will need to support her future rare pet business.
Keynote speaker Bob Morris delivered a comprehensive presentation on the entrepreneurship opportunities in the food and agriculture industry as the world struggles with developing new approaches to sustainable production agriculture and food to meet the needs of increasing human population in the 21st century. He encouraged students to think creatively and come up with innovative methods of “doing more with less,” as the human population approaches the 9 billion mark and per capita global resources shrink.
Dean of Agriculture and Urban Programs Mark Robson, a member of the SEBS E-Team, hosted the successful EA Day 2013. Bill Sciarappa, agricultural agent for Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Monmouth County, and a member of SEBS E-Team, gave the note of thanks. Albert Ayeni, coordinator of the SEBS EA Program and co-director of the SEBS International Science and Education Program organized the EA Day event. The EA program is jointly funded by Rutgers SEBS and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA).