Farm country the Bronx is not.
But the concrete jungle will have plenty at stake as Congress debates the 2012 Farm Bill, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand told nearly 100 anti-hunger advocates Wednesday at Hostos Community College.
The junior senator outlined her Food Bill goals with U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Bronx/Queens) and addressed concerns about hunger and nutrition in poor Bronx neighborhoods.
Gillibrand is the first member of the Senate Agriculture Committee from New York in nearly 40 years. The committee is responsible for food aid as well as farming and Gillibrand pledged to battle Senate Republicans for a 30% hike in food stamp funding as part of the newest Farm Bill – $200 more per month for households receiving the benefits.
“There are more families in need,” she said. “Right now, in Washington, all we hear about is cuts…But hunger is where we need to increase investment.”
More than 1.8 million New Yorkers, including about 250,000 in the Bronx, receive food stamps.
With Gov. Cuomo vowing Wednesday to abolish finger-printing as a food stamp requirement in the city, Gillibrand defended her 2010 vote to cut future food stamp funding, claiming she had to choose between the benefits and better school lunches.
Gillibrand, who toured the Hunts Point food distribution center Wednesday, made the case for a community retail hub there – when funding becomes available.