Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sen. Gail Schwartz’s ‘Homemade Jelly’ bill

Senate Bill 258, sponsored by Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, and Reps. Ed Vigil, D-Fort Garland, and Don Coram, R-Montrose, would allow non-perishable food such as baked goods or jams and jellies, as well as eggs, to be sold at farmers markets and similar venues by vendors who produce the goods in their home kitchens. The bill bridges the gap between larger growers and producers, who sell wholesale, and smaller, home-kitchen operations that generate less than $5,000 in a year.

The products must be labeled and the vendor would be required to register with a regional board of health after training in food-handling safety. Additionally, Schwarz says part of the intent of SB 258 is to highlight locally grown produce and locally produced food products through the use of the “Colorado Proud” label affixed to the products, as well as through greater promotion of farmers markets by the Department of Agriculture.

Schwartz said that the smaller growers add “variety and experience” and can contribute significantly to agri-tourism in the state.

“We need to find ways to support local farmers and local markets and promote Colorado,” said Schwartz.

Allowing small growers to turn their harvest into consumable products that can be sold could serve as a shot in the arm to those in rural communities struggling to make ends meet, says Schwartz.

“This is a jobs bill for rural areas,” said Schwartz.

Yet, Sen. Cheri Jahn, D-Wheat Ridge, says it’s not just about rural areas but also about urban and suburban areas, and SB 258 will allow part-time urban farmers to sell their products without being in violation of the law. Jahn says more and more folks in non-rural areas are embracing what’s been called “agriburbia”—a blend of agriculture and suburban living. Farmers markets are a natural outgrowth of the trend.

“Agriculture has become urban,” said Jahn. “Agriburbia trends have grown and will continue to do so even if it’s just a couple of chickens in the backyard. Let’s let people do what they want and let’s quit making things hard for people in this state—the little guy.”

Sen. Ted Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch, says the state shouldn’t have a say in whether or not someone can sell what they produce, regardless of their size of operation, as long as they are not selling anything harmful.

“If someone wants to sell jams or jellies at a farmer’s market—we shouldn’t be regulating that,” said Harvey.

Via - Colorado News Agency


  1. This bill will support family farms by making it legal to sell low risk products at farms and farm markets. It will be a benefit to farmers and local economies in rural communities and will allow urbanites to enjoy farm products.

  2. support this bill but tell me why a farmer should be the only one to benefit! 28 other states have a law similar to this allowing ANYONE to produce non hazardous foods from their home kitchens to sell to the public. It is called a Cottage Food Law. The Local Foods to Local Markets bill is unfair in that only farmers will have this right. Do farmers have cleaner kitchens then the rest of the public? Is my income any less important than theirs? This bill will violate equal rights. Lets remove the stipulation that you must be a farmer to use your home kitchen for the production of a non hazardous food for sale.
    The bill passed the first hearing and is now going to the State House and Senate. Please tell your Representatives that EVERYONE should benefit from this bill, not just farmers. AND that there should not be a net income cap of $5,000 per year on it! That is not worth anyone’s time, especially a farmer. Lastly, home based food production businesses should be fully regulated by the Health department for public safety and should be licensed and insured. Colorado should follow Utah's regulations for a cottage food business, http://www.rules.utah.gov/publ... Please join my facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/Colora... and sign the online petition for a TRUE Cottage Law in Colorado.