Home-based Food Entrepreneurs Surge under Cottage Food Laws and Covid-19


Home baker selling under cottage food law

The current economic downturn and job loss caused by COVID-19 vividly highlights why my husband, John Ivanko, and I have been on a mission for the last decade to increase access to and opportunities for us to diversify our homestead income by selling shelf-stable, non-hazardous food items like breads, cookies, pies, jams, pickles, candies and other items that are truly homemade.

Amidst the unpredictability and unknowns currently in our world, there’s one thing you can be sure of: There is no better time to follow your dream of launching your food product business from home under your state’s cottage food law. Cottage food laws allow the sale of non-hazardous food items, like baked goods or high-acid canned items made in your home kitchen.

While I needed to join two other home bakers and the Institute for Justice to win a lawsuit against our state of Wisconsin over my right to earn a livelihood by selling baked goods, most state laws will allow the sale of non-hazardous baked items, which, in the simplest of terms, means baked food products that do not require refrigeration and have a low water content. Most cottage food laws cover high acid canned items, like jams or pickles, as well, plus a host of other items.

We’re inspired by the emerging Food Freedom movement in places like Wyoming and parts of California that even allow certain prepared meals to be made and sold directly out of home kitchens. As the economic fallout from the pandemic builds, millions of Americans have opted to launch their own business from home to cover the bills and enhance the local food movement with homemade products sold to their neighbors.

Forrager cottage food map for cottage food operators

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