DENVER (AP) – Colorado’s local-food movement won a significant victory in the state Senate on Tuesday, when lawmakers unanimously agreed to make it easier for small-time chicken farmers to sell directly to consumers.

The bill approved Tuesday would also expand the state’s so-called “Cottage Foods” law to allow home cooks who make almost anything that doesn’t need refrigeration to sell directly to consumers.

The bill would help the farm-to-table movement and boost small farmers and cooks, said Republican sponsor Sen. Owen Hill of Colorado Springs. “We’re trying to make it easier to sell Colorado products direct to consumers,” Hill said.

But not all supported the bill. Some said the measure improperly removes requirements that the food producers take food-safety courses.

“This creates a patchwork of training and won’t give consumers any assurance that the producer they’re buying from has taken any basic food-safety courses,” said Brent Boydston of the Colorado Farm Bureau, which didn’t oppose but also didn’t support the bill.

Hill insisted that consumers will know about the risks. “You know you’re buying things from an unlicensed, uninspected, unregulated kitchen,” Hill said Tuesday.

The bill was amended from its original version to say that poultry producers can sell directly to consumers, but not to grocery stores. That could come only after the Colorado Department of Agriculture convenes a panel to work out those details.

One more vote is required before the bill heads to the House.

LINK: Senate Bill 58


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