(March 6) – A bipartisan bill by Speaker Crisanta Duran and Rep. Barbara McLachlan to connect Colorado farmers with food and nutrition programs and expand access to local produce passed the House Agriculture, Livestock & Natural Resources Committee this afternoon with a 10-3 vote.

“This bill is about bringing people together to ensure that Coloradans have access to Colorado-grown fresh fruit and vegetables, to promote local economies and to encourage our farmers and ranchers across the state to collaborate,” said Speaker Duran, D-Denver.

“This bill helps farmers and ranchers focus on their main job—growing food—by streamlining the process to participate in Farm to School and other nutrition programs,” said Rep. McLachlan, D-Durango. “This will spur growth in the agricultural community and help more Coloradans buy healthy food from our local farmers.”

HB17-1192 combines the Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council and Farm to School Task Force into one council with a focus on food systems and promoting healthy food access. The bill creates a single point of contact to help farmers navigate the various systems and connect with those markets.

Under HB17-1192, the council’s priorities include, but are not limited to, coordinating between farmers and food and nutrition assistance programs; farm to school program development; and planning for a sustainable, equitable food system.

The vote sends the bill to the House Appropriations committee. The Senate sponsors are Sens. Don Coram, R-Montrose, and Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora.

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