2021 is a fresh start in so many ways, but as always, a new year means a new round of cottage food bills!
And what a big round it is! At least one-third of states are actively working on improving their cottage food law this year.
I actually can’t remember a year when there were this many cottage food amendments on the table. It reminds me of nearly a decade ago, when states were busy creating their initial cottage food laws.
In all likelihood, the pandemic, and the resulting surge of interest in cottage foods, is part of the push to improve the laws in many states.
WOW… what a year it has been for our growing cottage food industry!
As I wrote about last year, the pandemic really highlighted the need for people to be able to sell their homemade food.
And in 2021, states responded in a BIG way! This year, more states improved their laws for selling homemade food than in any other year in history.
In this special 50th episode of The Forrager Podcast, we hear from the experts!
All of the guests on this episode run Facebook groups that support cottage food entrepreneurs. In total, the owners of these Facebook groups represent over 125,000 members!
On this episode, each guest shares a quick tip that they have for someone starting or growing a cottage food business.
Facebook groups are the glue that holds the cottage food industry together. They are fantastic resources for entrepreneurs to find support and connect with each other.
Those who run these Facebook groups spend a lot of time supporting and maintaining their groups, oftentimes behind the scenes and without compensation.
This episode not only contains tons of valuable advice for cottage food business owners, but also recognizes many of the individuals that help support the growing cottage food industry.
Last week, on September 16th, 2021, California’s governor signed AB 1144, a cottage food bill that will improve California’s cottage food law.
It is the last of 17 cottage food initiatives that have passed in 2021 (the most of any year, by far).
This amendment was long overdue, as California had not amended their law since 2013!
But did I ever think I would be the one spearheading CA’s next cottage food law improvement? Definitely not!
In 2019, Justina Rucinski was sexually assaulted in her home in Burlington, IA when a supposed client came to pay for a cookie order. That traumatic event not only forever changed her life, but has also changed cottage food laws around the country.
Justina now lives in San Antonio, TX and continues to sell custom decorated cookies and cakes with her cottage food business, SweetEms.
After her horrific experience, she came very close to shutting down her business. But with massive support from bakers around the world, she has both resurrected it and become one of the most popular cottage food bakers in the United States!
In addition to her business success, Justina has become an advocate for the safety of all home bakers. Because of her story, many states no longer require cottage food producers to put their home address on their product labels.
In this emotional episode, Justina shares how the cottage food community helped lift her out of utter darkness, so that she could once again continue running the business that she loves so much!
After a 12 year battle, New Jersey finally has a cottage food law! They are the last state to create one, and they will be the last state to get the “pending” status on Forrager’s map.
Although the new cottage food rules passed on July 12th, they will not take effect until the rules get published by the Office of Administrative Law (OAL).
In other words, this law isn’t usable just yet. And once the law gets published (likely by mid-September), it’s not entirely clear how long it will take for the health department to start approving permits.
With over half of the states working on improving their cottage food law, 2021 already has been the biggest year ever for cottage food developments. New Jersey’s law is a big fat cherry on top of all of that!
2020 was not just a year full of changes for the nation and world.
It was also a year which changed the cottage food industry… sometimes for the worse, but mostly for the better.
There were a number of important storylines this year, and surprisingly, many of them were not pandemic-related.
In this year-end recap, I’ll give my take on the major events of 2020 that related to the cottage food industry.
Recently I was asked to briefly describe how COVID-19 has impacted the cottage food industry this year. Here’s what I wrote:
“The pandemic has impacted everyone differently, but it has impacted everyone. Some cottage food businesses have shut down temporarily or permanently, while just as many others have seen their sales skyrocket. More cottage food businesses started this year than any other by far, and overall, the pandemic has caused a huge surge of interest in this industry.”
That’s a very simplified view of what has been a crazy and complex year.
In this post, I’ll dig into some of the major trends and story lines that impacted the cottage food industry in 2020.
If you are thinking of selling your homemade food, then this episode is for you!
For this inaugural episode of The Forrager Podcast, I decided to give you a crash course on the first things you need to know to start a cottage food business.
You’ll learn about the cottage food industry and better understand how you can legally start a food business from your home kitchen.
You will also hear about my own journey in starting a cottage food business, what I learned along the way, and why I started this podcast.
If you want to learn more about your state’s cottage food law, or better understand how this site was made, this post will give you ideas for how to research and update a law on Forrager.
California’s new law (AB 626) has some lofty goals, but some of the bill language will keep it from making much of an impact. Cottage food bills have made some mistakes over and over again, preventing them from achieving their full potential.
I recently received a few questions from Sid, a student at the University of Tampa who’s doing some research on the cottage food industry. The questions are high-level enough that I realized they’d make a good blog post, so I’m sharing my answers here.