The Colorado Cottage Foods Act (Senate Bill 48) passed out of the Colorado House of Representatives on Monday, March 5!
Coloradans are one step closer to enjoying certain homemade foods sold to them directly by local producers. The Governor’s signature is all that stands between hungry consumers and local jams, jellies, baked goods, teas, honey, dried fruits & vegetables, and farm fresh eggs to be sold farmers markets.
The bill exempts small producers of non-potentially hazardous foods from the licensing requirements placed on retail food establishments but requires producers to be certified in safe food handling and processing. SB 48 also encourages the purchase of home kitchen insurance and allows for sales of up to $5,000 (net) per eligible item. All homemade items meant for direct sale to consumers would be labeled with ingredients and producer’s contact information.
“This bill benefits farmers and fledgling home-based businesses,” says Monica Wiitanen, of Small Potatoes Farm near Paonia. “I could help my farm (financially) by baking and selling bread, and local costumers get satisfied in the process.”
Western Colorado Congress [WCC] members from Mesa, Montrose and Delta traveled to Denver on multiple occasions to testify in support of the measure. WCC sees local food as beneficial to agriculture, community, climate, and economy. Farmers may have more demand for their produce, consumers have access to better food, and a little more money stays in the community. As a bonus, local food means less fuel to haul produce to market—that saves gas money and reduces climate-causing air pollution.
“I especially want to thank Sen. Schwartz and Rep Coram (Montrose) for their efforts stewarding the bill,” said Marv Ballantyne, WCC Legislative Committee Chair. “Supporting local food and growers helps us create sustainable Colorado communities.”
Collaborators include, but were not limited to: Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Valley Organic Growers Association, Colorado Farm Bureau, the Colorado Beekeepers Association, and Western Colorado Congress.