DENVER — City residents will now be allowed to sell from their homes fresh produce and “cottage foods” that they grow and make themselves, thanks to an amendment to the Denver Zoning Code adopted last night by Denver City Council.
The change allows Denver residents living in residential zone districts to sell from their homes fresh produce they have grown themselves and cottage foods, such as jams and honey, they have made themselves in their home kitchen. Before they start, sellers will be required to secure a “home occupation” zoning permit and, if they plan to sell cottage foods, also complete a food safety course.
“Throughout the City and County of Denver, many of our families are food-insecure and struggle to access fresh, locally-grown food,” Mayor Hancock said. “This change will work to increase healthy food options for families and add new opportunities for supplemental earnings that can make a real difference in the economic and physical health of lower income residents. I want to recognize the Denver Sustainable Food Policy Council for recommending this policy change and I want to thank Council members Robin Kneich, Susan Shepherd and Albus Brooks for leading the passage of this ordinance.”
The amendment was sponsored by Councilwoman Robin Kniech, with Councilmembers Susan Shepherd and Albus Brooks as co-sponsors, and was developed under the leadership of the Mayor’s Sustainable Food Policy Council.
“City gardening is already taking off in Denver, and this ordinance will give motivated residents a chance to sell their extra produce to their neighbors, expanding access to healthy food for families who may not have access today,” added Councilwoman Kniech. “It’s a rare chance to help one family earn a little extra cash and another to eat healthy food, without having to leave your neighborhood.”
Among the expected benefits of the new regulations are expanded access to affordable foods, particularly in those communities considered “food deserts,” and community-building through increased neighbor-to-neighbor interactions. The change will also help meet the city’s sustainability goals by reducing the distance that food travels from farm to table, and will help to create supplemental income opportunities for families seeking greater economic self-sufficiency.
The text amendment, which goes into effect this Friday, allows residents with a permit to sell:
- Raw and uncut fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, grown by the seller in an on-site or community garden;
- Whole eggs produced by chickens or ducks owned and kept by the seller at home;
- “Cottage foods,” which are low-risk, unrefrigerated food products made on-site such as spices, teas, honey, jams, and certain baked goods, as defined in the Colorado Cottage Food Act.
The sale of marijuana or marijuana-infused products is not allowed.
Sales from the permit holder/grower’s home are allowed from 8 a.m. to dusk, indoors or outdoors. Some limitations apply, including those that apply to all permitted home occupations, per the Denver Zoning Code. For more information, including how to secure a permit, a list of permissible cottage foods, and tips for your home garden, visit DenverGov.org/Homebusiness.
The amendment brings the City and County of Denver into compliance with the Colorado Cottage Food Act, which was passed the Colorado General Assembly in 2012. To learn more about the law, click here for an informational flier from the Colorado Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability.
Additional resources are also available at the Colorado State University Denver Extension Office, which provides resources on soil testing as well as classes on urban farming, cottage foods and food safety. Scholarships are available for those unable to afford class fees. Visit www.denverext.colostate.edu for more information.
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