The engine of the skid loader churned while soil was tilled. It looked like routine work taking pace in the Riverside County Park along Riverside Avenue; just some trees, shrubs and grasses being planted. Replacing trees and shrubs is nothing unusual but the people completing the work made it special… A program based in Newark and developed by staff and faculty from Rutgers Cooperative Extension, the VETS program provides educational classes in areas such as greenhouse management, landscaping, hydroponics, and aquaponics (a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics) to military veterans and allows them to gain hands-on experience… Also operated out of the greenhouse by the VETS is a fish-exchange program where fish caught in the Passaic River can be exchanged for farm-raised tilapia. Environmental officials advise against eating fish caught in the Passaic River. The fish raised in the greenhouse are part of a sustainable cycle where fish waste is used to fertilize the vegetable gardens. It is an initiative aimed at reducing health risks related to eating fish caught in the river while also empowering local veterans with green skills.
/ / Program Trains Veterans for Green Careers, Gives Back to Towns