Grant program brings Colorado food to schools
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed HB 19-1132 into law Tuesday, May 14, in Pueblo. The bill, the School Incentives to use Colorado Food and Producers, establishes a grant program in the Colorado Department of Education to encourage providers that are entitled to federal money for school lunches to purchase food products from Colorado growers, producers and processors.
The bill also establishes a separate program in CDE to make a grant to a nonprofit organization to make grants to entities that promote the sale of Colorado food to schools and to eligible producers to encourage the purchase of Colorado food.
Rep. Rod Pelton, a Cheyenne Wells farmer and rancher, and Rep. Bri Buentello were on hand Tuesday for the signing. The House-originated bill was sponsored also by Sens. Don Coram and Jeff Bridges.
Pelton said the program allows a 5 cent per lunch subsidy to participating districts and also provides educational materials to help students make a connection between the food they eat and the local farmers and ranchers who produce it. He said there will also be governor resources for school nutrition staff including recipes and preparation information.
“The kids will know this food didn’t come out of the back of a semi from some warehouse,” he said. “The farmers they know grew some of this. There’s such a disconnect now between, especially the city kids and rural Colorado and agriculture. This will be a good thing to have.” ❖
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