Governor Granholm signed two new bills meant to "free Michigan's cottage food industry from unnecessary regulation," according to an AnnArbor.com report. You used to be required to have a Michigan Department of Agriculture-certified kitchen to sell or distribute homemade food. The legislation allows cottage industries that gross less than $15,000 a year to cook, package, and sell "non-potentially hazardous foods" made at home - including things like breads, pies, jams, herbs, and coffee. The MI Senate is still deciding on the fate of syrup.
It's a win for the growing local food movement, which argues that increasing local food production and consumption can create more environmentally and economically sustainable communities. However, the move to allow more cottage industry is also supporting and encouraging more entrepreneurship.
Ypsilanti Farmers' Market manager Ryan Stedman told AnnArbor.com that "she is regularly approached by people wanting to sell foods at the market," but had to tell them they couldn't do it unless they had a certified kitchen. "They had to be licensed and that takes time and money and knowing what the laws are, and that can be daunting. This removes barriers for lots of people looking to join the local food movement and supplement their income," she says, as reported in the article.
The Detroit Free Press also covered the story, and you can find another post about it on Ypsilanti blog www.markmaynard.com
Jennifer Eberbach is a professional journalist and writer. Find contact information on her website www.jenthewriter.info