Hostos Community College is addressing unemployment and nutritional poverty in the Bronx by offering an associate degree in Food Studies, the first of its kind. The first round of Food Studies students are anticipated to begin in the 2015-2016 academic year. This program will empower a new crop of food experts to make changing the food system their profession.
The program is designed to address a lack of food expertise in the Bronx, and it is “offered to students living in neighborhoods most negatively impacted by current imbalances in the food system and least represented in leadership positions within the industry.” One in four Bronx residents is obese and nearly 17 percent of the population has type-2 diabetes. This is due in part to the growing price gap between fresh and processed foods in New York City, which is making produce unaffordable in low-income areas.
The food studies program will teach students the skills they need to become food entrepreneurs, dietetic technicians, nutrition and health educators, and advocates for sustainability and nutrition in their local communities. Using these skills, food studies graduates can help tackle the nutritional problems faced by the Bronx. According to Karp Resources, New York City is projected to gain over 42,000 food jobs by 2020, and this degree will create a skilled and diverse applicant pool.
Through its food studies program, Hostos Community College “seeks to reframe the food sector and food studies landscape by placing the individuals historically disenfranchised by traditional planning and policy inequities at the very center of knowledge generation and practice.”