The passing of the Wyoming Food Freedom Act (WFFA) in 2015 made Wyoming the first state to eliminate the majority of regulations restricting the sale of local and homemade foods. It was a huge step forward in making homemade foods easy to sell and accessible to everyone. However, there’s still quite a bit of confusion over what the WFFA really means for citizens of Wyoming and the United States at large.
Unlike the prohibitive “cottage food laws” that 40 states have in place, Wyoming now allows its residents to sell any form of homemade food, so long as it doesn’t contain meat other than poultry. Chicken pot pies, homemade cheese, and even raw milk are now legal to sell without any form of business license, zoning approval, or regulation from the health department. There’s one major weakness in the law: All food sold under the WFFA must be eaten within private homes. This makes it illegal, for example, for a home baker to sell cakes for public events, such as weddings. Even so, the law is a big step forward for home-based businesses.
The WFFA has had a major impact on the local food movement in Wyoming, but it certainly didn’t happen overnight. More than five years of persistent lobbying were needed before the bill passed, and other states have failed at their attempts to implement similar bills. Nonetheless, the passing of the WFFA is a tremendous testament to the power of grass-roots mobilization, and is a source of encouragement to food activists in other states who are trying to pass similar laws.