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May 14, 2008

Congresswoman Velázquez: Farm Bill Will Help New York Families Deal with Rising Food Costs

Washington, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives this afternoon approved H.R. 2419, “The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008.” Serving as a conferee on the final Farm Bill package, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) advocated for the good of New York City. Nearly three-fourths of the 2008 Farm Bill, an additional $10.4 billion in new spending, goes to nutrition programs that will help New Yorkers afford healthy food.

Congresswoman Velázquez released the following statement on the importance of the legislation:

“Farm policy, despite its name, is critically important for big cities like New York. Food prices are increasing at the highest rate in almost two decades, and as a result our neighbors are struggling to pay for their basic needs. The U.S. House today delivered on its promise to address rising food costs, while helping working families afford healthy food.

The Farm Bill invests in our food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens. These new resources will immediately ease shortages and help meet the rising demand for assistance. It also updates the food stamp program to make it more accessible for seniors and families with children, ensuring they can afford food all month long. This is critically important in New York, where more than 1.8 million residents benefit from the program.

We’re also taking important steps to promote the health of our children and families. More than half of adult New Yorkers are overweight or obese, and nearly half of all New York City elementary school-children are not at a healthy weight. Making fresh foods available in urban areas and teaching New Yorkers about healthy eating habits is a good first step toward addressing the problem.

This legislation strengthens programs that provide healthy snacks in our schools, makes farmers markets more accessible to seniors and low-income consumers in urban communities, and improves education about the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables. There is no better public health investment ensuring that all Americans can eat healthy meals regardless of their income level.”