The Colorado House of Representatives on April 16 passed HB19-1132 School Incentives to Use Colorado Food and Producers on third reading and final passage by a vote of 53 “aye” 11 “no” and 1 absent. This piece of legislation, sponsored by Representatives Buentello (D- Pueblo) and Pelton (R - Cheyenne Wells) would subsidize the purchase of Colorado produce by Colorado public schools.

Buentello said she understands that healthy meals are essential for the development and performance of children.

In the 2017-2018 school year 71,076 Colorado children qualified for reduced price lunches and 308,382 qualified for free lunches.

In addition, the state provided 1,471,831 lunches in the summer months (source: Colorado Department of Education).

Buentello said she recognizes that this bill, if passed, will ensure a brighter and healthier future for the most vulnerable in our state.

Ultimately, Buentello said she hopes that this bill will integrate communities.

If a Colorado kid in Boulder has Pueblo Chili and Rocky Ford watermelon on their lunch plate, they will have a real tangible connection to our farmers and ranchers, she said.

The idea is that they will grow to appreciate the hard work that goes into feeding them and Colorado's unique rural way of life. The measure is now headed to the Colorado Senate, where it awaits a committee assignment and hearing.