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Friday, January 6, 2012 (Bronx, NY) – On January 4th, Eugenio María de Hostos Community College welcomed U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-NY) to the campus for an open forum on the Food and Farm Bill, which is up for renewal this year. The federal bill, which has an impact on food and agricultural policy and funding, is renewed every five years.  Gillibrand, who has been holding statewide “listening sessions” on the bill, is the first New York senator to sit on the Agriculture Committee in nearly 40 years.

After greeting Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Crowley as “longtime friends of the college,” Hostos President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez opened the session by observing that agricultural policy and funding are matters of critical importance to our society:  “In the Bronx and throughout our city, state, and nation, we need to promote good nutrition and combat food insecurity by making sure that everyone has access to fresh and healthful foods.” Having just come from touring the Hunts Point area and its Terminal Market, Senator Gillibrand told attendees that this is “the most severe time in our nation’s history for food insecurity.” She spoke of the need to increase emergency aid to food pantries and soup kitchens, to raise food stamp benefits, to remove the shelter deduction cap, and to implement healthy food policies for school children.

Attendees included representatives from various New York City advocacy groups, local farmers, educators, and community residents. They came primarily to discuss the implications that the Food and Farm Bill will have on residents of the Bronx and neighboring communities. In addition to the topics addressed by Senator Gillibrand, audience members spoke of the need to promote healthy food choices and increase the accessibility of fresh fruits and vegetables, to expand access to community food gardens and farmers’ markets, and to strengthen ties between upstate farmers and NYC consumers. Senator Gillibrand addressed each speaker’s concerns and reaffirmed her commitment to ensuring that the Food and Farm Bill works for New Yorkers.

About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College, part of The City University of New York system, was founded in 1968. It is located in the South Bronx. In addition to associate degree programs that facilitate easy transfer to CUNY’s four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions, Hostos also offers courses for professional development and certificate-bearing workforce training programs through its award-winning Continuing Education and Workforce Development Division. In four decades, Hostos has grown from a charter class of 623 in the fall of 1970 to its current enrollment of over 7,000 students, with an additional 12,000 being served through the Continuing Education and Workforce Development Division. For more news and stories about Hostos Community College, visit www.hostos.cuny.edu.  

Media Contact:
Ana M. Carrión: amcarrion@hostos.cuny.edu
Soldanela Rivera: srlopez@hostos.cuny.edu
Phone: 718-518-6872 or 917-627-9097


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