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February 5, 2007

Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy
(518) 455-5203

Rivera Praises Proposed State Budget
Adds funds to fight hunger, prevent childhood obesity prevent diabetes, establish wholesale farmer's market

(Albany, NY) Assemblyman Josť Rivera (Bronx), the Chair of the Assembly Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy was pleased that Governor Spitzer's proposed budget for 2007 includes increased funding for food assistance, childhood obesity prevention and a new wholesale farmer's market. His Task Force has worked to advance these issues for years. Rivera will push for the farmers' market to be located in the Bronx.

Rivera stated, "It is good news that the proposed budget will increase funding to support the volunteers who provide food at churches, synagogues, mosques, shelters and other neighborhood providers. Unfortunately, our society does not provide living wages and affordable housing which forces hundreds of thousands of families and seniors to wait in line to get food handouts to eat. It also important that we provide education and health care to make sure that in addition to food assistance we reduce diabetes and obesity which severely impact low-income communities."

Food, Farm and Nutrition budget highlights include:

  • $5 million increase in hunger prevention funding for foodbanks, soup kitchens and food pantries

  • $1 million increase in senior home delivered meal programs

  • $100,000 increase for the WIC nutrition program for pregnant women, infants and children

  • $2 million ($300,000 for this year) increase for childhood obesity prevention including Body Mass Index (BMI) data collection

  • $500,000 for a NYC wholesale farmers' market

"I look forward to working with Governor Spitzer to help struggling families and seniors get nutritious food to improve their health and productivity and help their children reach their potential. I believe that we can do even more to use nutrition assistance and education to reach those goals and will continue to work to improve food policy for consumers, food businesses and farmers. Last year, for example, we were successful in adding significant new State funding for diabetes for the first time in years," said Rivera. "I also urge the Governor to locate the NYC wholesale farmers' market in the Bronx where other food wholesale markets such as the Fulton Fish Market and Hunts Point Cooperative are located."

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