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.
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.
It’s July 1st, 2020, and for the first time in over 7 years, I’ve added a new rank to Forrager’s map. I named it “freedom”, and Wyoming has the honor of being the first state to reach this status!
As of today, Wyoming’s new amendment (HB 84) to their food freedom law takes effect, and it’s a big one. Because although their 2015 law has always been the best food freedom law in the country, truthfully, it still lagged behind some of the best cottage food laws in some ways.
Erica Smith, who works for the Institute for Justice, is a major advocate for the cottage food industry. She and her team have worked with dozens of cottage food businesses to spearhead many of the recent cottage food and food freedom law improvements across the country.
I wanted Erica to shed some light on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting cottage food businesses and what steps people can potentially take to improve their situation.
Many states’ restrictions are preventing cottage food producers from adapting their businesses in a safe way right now, and Erica came to me with the idea that this current situation could actually help spawn some improvements in many states’ laws.
In addition to that, Erica discusses the current law changes (including Wyoming’s greatly improved law), what they have worked on in the past, which states they’re targeting in the future, and why this industry is so important.
North Dakota’s food freedom law regresses into a good cottage food law, after the state health department created new rules and limits.
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.
Wyoming has tested the waters of food freedom for a year. Are people using their food freedom law, and if so, is it negatively impacting the public health? Is this the future of the cottage food movement?
Cottage food operations often get frustrated by health departments, who can be slow, uncommunicative, and sometimes downright unfriendly. Do health departments really dislike the cottage food industry as much as people think they do?
Yes, food freedom is real. The term has become increasingly popular: you may have heard it around the dinner table, at farmers markets, or even at a food freedom fest. This catchphrase of locavore culture has become so common that, until recently, you may have thought it to be a real thing. Proponents of food… [read more]