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Israeli agritech prowess to help New Jersey produce healthier food

Agreement between Tel Hai College and Rutgers University aims to make prepared foods that are better for you

From Start Up Israel:

A new agreement on the development of healthy food products between Israel’s Tel-Hai College and New Jersey’s Rutgers University brings together two groups that together, leaders of the institutions believe, will be able to greatly advance the cause of healthy foods.

A cooperation deal between Rutgers, Tel-Hai, and the State of New Jersey to form the New Jersey-Israel Healthy, Functional, and Medical Foods Alliance was signed earlier in September at a ceremony on the campus of the Rutgers Food Innovation Center, an incubator/accelerator that works with start-ups developing technology for healthier prepared foods.

One of the major backers and facilitators of the project was Labor MK Erel Margalit, chairman of the Knesset’s Economic Development Taskforce. “It has been my vision to establish regions of excellence across Israel, that attract investment and encourage significant job growth,” Margalit said. “This alliance with Rutgers will create a center of excellence in the Galilee region that will leverage the area’s agriculture, life sciences and food industry expertise, transforming the region into a medical food global powerhouse.”

Israel is well-known for its agricultural technology. Israeli cows, for example, are the world champs in milk production, yielding on average 12,000 liters of milk a year, far more than anywhere else (in the US, it’s about 7,000 liters). Israel is also a world innovator in applying big data tech to increasing yields on farms: Big data applications from a company called Akol tell farmers which crops they should plant, based on climate and location, and when to plant and harvest for maximum yields. Other Akol applications provide information to farmers on feed mix to give their cows, ideal storage procedures for their climate, tracking the growth of chickens or livestock, temperature control procedures based on current weather, and tracking fruit growth and scheduling irrigation. They also generate reports of milk samples for quality control.

New Jersey, meanwhile, is a leader in processed food production. While the Garden State is perceived as an urban center (due to its proximity to both New York City and Philadelphia), it is actually a leading state in terms of agricultural income per acre, and one of the top states for processed food manufacturing. The Rutgers Food Innovation Center seeks to leverage these capabilities in order to support and expand the state’s food industry.

Healthy eating – including what has become known as “medical foods” – is the wave of the future for processed foods, many industry experts believe. As consumers become more aware of obesity issues, and the connection between their health and additives, sugar, chemicals, and other features of food, they are asking more questions about what they are eating – and how to improve it. Now officially sanctioned by the FDA, the “medical food” label is used on hundreds of products that claim to boost protein, vitamins, intelligence, immunity to specific diseases, and more. (One example is Ensure, a very popular protein drink that promises to support adult digestive tract health; in 2009, it alone was responsible for a billion dollars in sales in a medical health market valued at an estimated $1.6 billion.)

Discussions that led to the alliance’s formation began during a visit to Israel last June by Lou Cooperhouse, director of the Rutgers Food Innovation Center, and Jessica Paolini, economic development manager with Choose New Jersey, a non-governmental agency with statewide marketing efforts for economic development purposes. Michele Brown, president and CEO of Choose New Jersey, participated in the announcement ceremony at Rutgers.

“We are thrilled with the many possibilities of this new collaboration and have high expectations for the economic development benefits that might result for the State of New Jersey,” Brown said. “With the food and life sciences industries being such key components of our state’s economy, and their linkages to so many businesses in New Jersey, this alliance can have a huge impact on the marketplace and on job creation.”

For Tel Hai, located in the far north of Israel, close to the Lebanese border, the project is a major boost – one of the highest-level international agreements it has entered into.

Prof. Yossi Mekori, incoming president of Tel-Hai College and a prominent leader in Israeli medical sciences, said: “We see significant outcomes that can result from this alliance, with potential transformation of our food industries in Israel and in New Jersey and extended global impact. Tel-Hai College’s capabilities in academics and research are the ideal platform for this unique and promising collaboration.”

 

Rutgers Food Innovation Center and NJ Business Groups to Visit Israel to Build NJ-Israel Innovation Cluster

During the week of June 21, Lou Cooperhouse, director of the Rutgers Food Innovation Center (FIC) and President of the New Jersey Business Incubation Network (NJ BIN) and Jessica Paolini, Economic Development Manager of Choose New Jersey, Inc., are visiting Israel to meet with academic, government, business incubation, and investment organizations. The purpose of the trip is to create a NJ-Israel Food Innovation Cluster, focused on food and agribusiness collaborations, which will serve as a model for other cluster-based initiatives expected to be formed between the State of Israel and the State of New Jersey during the next few years.

They will be hosted by Olive Grove Ventures (OGV), an international business development consultancy, whose mission is to accelerate the successful entry of Israeli companies into the US market.

“We believe that there is great potential to establish a mutually beneficial relationship between New Jersey and Israel to bring science based innovations to the U.S. market,” stated Laura Herschlag, founder and CEO of Olive Grove Ventures. “Every government, industry, and academic organization we reached out to responded enthusiastically to the invitation to meet or host a gathering with representatives from New Jersey to learn about the market entry resources and platforms to help Israeli companies succeed in the US.”

The NJ-Israel Food Innovation Cluster is a joint initiative between the FIC, OGV, and Tel-Hai Academic College. Cooperhouse will be discussing research and academic collaborations with Tel-Hai and will be the keynote presenter for their “Innovations in Healthy Foods” conference, which strengthens the connection between the university and industry, and introduces the latest innovations in science and technology as relates to healthier food.     Read more

More new books at EBPL

ארבעה ספרים נוספו למדף העברית בספרייה של איסט ברונסוויק

1. Taʻaśiyat ha-shekarim : medyah, akademyah veha-sikhsukh ha-Yiśreʼeli-ʻarvi / Ben-Dror Yemini http://librarycatalog.ebpl.org/ipac20/ipac.jsp?term=036200050873&index=ISBNEX&cqsSearch=+Go+
2. Krt hkvk’h / Robert Galbraith, Amir Zuckerman.http://librarycatalog.ebpl.org/ipac20/ipac.jsp?session=YLW1878246562.178&menu=search&aspect=subtab14&npp=10&ipp=20&spp=20&profile=ebl&ri=1&source=~%21horizon&index=ISBNEX&term=036200050361&x=0&y=0&aspect=subtab14
3. ʻAtsirah ketsarah ba-derekh me-Oshvits / Göran Rosenberg; Rut Shapira
http://librarycatalog.ebpl.org/ipac20/ipac.jsp?session=YLW1878246562.178&menu=search&aspect=subtab14&npp=10&ipp=20&spp=20&profile=ebl&ri=2&source=~%21horizon&index=ISBNEX&term=036200048122&x=0&y=0&aspect=subtab14
4. ha-Givʻah / Assaf Gavron.
http://librarycatalog.ebpl.org/ipac20/ipac.jsp?session=YLW1878246562.178&menu=search&aspect=subtab14&npp=10&ipp=20&spp=20&profile=ebl&ri=3&source=~%21horizon&index=ISBNEX&term=036200047156&x=0&y=0&aspect=subtab14

New Hebrew Books at the East Brunswick Public Library

הספרייה של איסט ברונסוויק רכשה לאחרונה כעשרים ספרים חדשים בעברית מחנות סיפרוטק שבניו-יורק.  רוב הספרים כבר על המדף מחכים לכם

הקליקו על הקישור לראות רשימת חלקית של הספרים החדשים

EBPLhebrew_042015

תמונה די ישנה של מדף הספרים בעברית. הספרים החדשים אינם בתמונה

NJ Senator Bob Smith visits Israel

N.J.’s environmental efforts can learn much from Israel’s conservation programs: Opinion

By Bob Smith

The majesty of tens of thousands of cranes and small birds taking off in massive flocks as dawn breaks over a small lake in the Hula Valley of Israel is not something I ever expected to witness. Nor did I fathom having the opportunity to learn of the conservation efforts to preserve Herzliya’s remaining seasonal pools, where water only fills up three months out of the year yet flora and fauna have adapted to the conditions in order to survive and have created a small oasis of natural beauty amidst the bustle of city life.

As chairman of the New Jersey Senate Environment and Energy Committee, I have gained a rich understanding over the years of conservation efforts that will help ensure that future generations of New Jerseyans have a healthy and beautiful state to live in and enjoy. Adding to my understanding and appreciation of the value of conservation was my recent experience in Israel, where I learned firsthand how the country’s efforts are becoming a model for environmental sustainability.

The trip was sponsored by the American Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (ASPNI), an offshoot of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI), which has worked for more than 60 years to preserve Israel’s rich environment across mountains, beaches, forests, deserts and tropics.

One of SPNI’s earliest achievements was the protection of Israel’s wildflowers, ending a long habit of Israelis picking thousands of species of wildflowers throughout the country for their Sabbath table – an appealing tradition, but one that had a negative long-term effect of leading to the near extinction of several species of wildflowers, including the iris and the tulip. Through a grassroots educational campaign directed primarily at the nation’s children, SPNI was able to reverse the depletion and preserved these prized flowers.

But SPNI is about much more than wildflowers. The organization is the largest environment organization in Israel, responsible for preserving open space, protecting beaches and promoting sustainable development throughout the country.

I learned firsthand how the country’s efforts are becoming a model for environmental sustainability.

Through my travels, I learned that New Jersey can gain much from SPNI’s experience and success. Roughly the same size and with a population similar to New Jersey’s, Israel has worked to preserve more than 31 percent of its total land in their natural parks and reserve system. New Jersey, which is the most densely populated state in the country, has reserved half that amount, roughly 15 percent of our land as open space and farmland preservation.

In Haifa, I saw community gardens that are not only creating urban spaces for growing food in vacant lots previously covered with garbage, but literally bringing people together from different faiths and backgrounds, including neighborhood residents such as Arabs and immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia. Each community garden project comes with a social worker to help bridge the gap between the different cultures to ensure that participants can overcome racial tensions to create a sustainable food source as well as a community spirit. The pride they took in what they had accomplished was truly inspiring.

Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, has begun to implement more than a dozen initiatives that will make it the “greenest” Legislature in the world. These initiatives include large-scale changes such as installing solar panels on its 49,514 square-foot roof, the installation of electric, air conditioning, computer and lighting systems that will automatically turn on and off to conserve energy, and changes like switching from bottled water to pitchers and real glasses to reduce waste, and swapping out light bulbs with energy-efficient LED bulbs, which has saved the Knesset $800,000. Green Knesset, as the program is called, will also ensure that every employee is trained on sustainability issues to guarantee that those making the laws are educated and knowledgeable about the green movement.

This trip allowed me to see the wonderful history of Israel and how it works to focus on its natural resources and conservation. The SPNI and ASPNI are having a meaningful impact on the quality of life for Israelis by helping to protect and preserve this wondrous land.

I encourage you all to take a look and get involved in their good works. Find out more through www.natureisrael.org/aspni, email aspni@aol.com or call 1-800-411-0966. Through our combined efforts we can ensure the preservation of Israel’s natural resources for generations to come.

Sen. Bob Smith chairs the Senate Environment and Energy Committee. He represents the 17th District in the Legislature comprised of Milltown, New Brunswick, North Brunswick, and Piscataway in Middlesex County and Franklin in Somerset County.

link to article – click here

By Star-Ledger Guest Columnist
on December 16, 2014

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