Press Release - Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz
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October 14, 2005
Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy
(518) 455-5203

From Mexico to Brooklyn to Upstate New York Immigrant Farmers Find a Home
Assemblyman Ortiz visits constituents who farm in Orange County and market in NYC

(Albany, NY) - New York State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, Chair of the NYS Assembly Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition visited Rodrimex Farm, operated by Martin and Pedro Rodriguez as part of his ongoing efforts to develop policies that benefit both urban consumers and rural farmers. The Rodriguez brothers, originally from Mexico, now living in Brooklyn, grow specialty herbs and vegetables that they sell in NYC farmers' markets. They received assistance from the NYC Greenmarkets New Farmer Development Program. Their business has proven so successful they are buying land and becoming permanent farmers in Orange County.

Ortiz, who as a youth worked on his grandparents' farm in Puerto Rico, sponsored the Farm-to-School Program Law in 2002. Ortiz says the law has resulted in the purchase of thousands of bushels of New York grown apples for school children in NYC and other communities.

"I respect the hard work of our family farmers and the struggles they face to make a profit. I want New York farmers to thrive so that our consumers in Brooklyn and around the state can have a steady supply of quality, local food and not rely on imports. I believe the State should be supporting more immigrants who want to farm," said Ortiz.

In addition, Ortiz has supported the restoration of funding in this year's budget for the New York Apple Association, and as chair of the National Caucus of Hispanic Legislators, he is pushing Washington to support the AgJOBS bill and other federal initiatives to help both farmers and immigrant farm workers.

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