Dear Legistalors, “We need a cottage food law”
There are currently 12 states that do not have a statewide cottage food law or any type of cottage food initiative. The states are Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and South Dakota. This might not mean much to some, but in 2011 six states drafted and voted into law,…
There are currently 12 states that do not have a statewide cottage food law or any type of cottage food initiative. The states are Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and South Dakota. This might not mean much to some, but in 2011 six states drafted and voted into law, cottage food legislation allowing home food processing.
Almost a year ago I was waiting for my new book How to Start a Home-Based Bakery Business to hit bookstores, and it dawned on me there are still a number of states that do not have cottage food laws allowing home food processing. The whole idea that you would need a law for folks to sell their homemade baked goods to members of their community is bizarre to say the least, particularly since people have been doing this since the 1850s when produce wagons became popular ways to sell fresh fruits, vegetables and baked goods.
“Wagons full of fresh produce might have gathered at the edge of town, in sort of farmer’s market style. Baskets/crates of fresh produce might have been available both inside and outside grocery stores, depending upon space availability. Not that it would have been any cooler in those days! Then, as today, farmers markets sometimes also sold home-made fresh baked goods and preserves.  “
Today everyone is looking for a way to make ends meet and some folks have reverted to selling their family recipes, sharing flavorful dry rubs, spice mixes, candies, cookies, cakes, pies, cakes, jams, jellies, flavored vinegars, even becoming beekeepers; there is probably a creative food crafter making a unique food product in your community right now.
What would it take for the few remaining states with no cottage food law to jump on board and create legislation in their states? It will take both the House and the Senate working together to draft a bill supporting home food processing of non-hazardous food products. It will take the citizens of the non-cottage food states “Starting a Cottage Food Movement” to encourage legislators to support a bill allowing home food processing; and in some states it might even take divine intervention.
When legislators ask, “Why should we have a cottage food law in our state?”, the answer is clear; a cottage food law offers citizens of the state an opportunity to start a small business that will bring much needed revenue to the community. A cottage food law supports the production of sustainable local fresh food in the community and for some families a cottage food law adds a bit of extra income which can be the difference between having and not having basic human needs.
The State of Arizona explains it best in this video.
 Source: The Food Timeline
 Legislators and citizens who would like to learn more about drafting cottage food legislation or best practices concerning home food processing should email:firstname.lastname@example.org