How Illinois can help home cooks making a living doing something they love
A cottage food business is a home-based business that produces foods like cakes, loaves of bread, jellies, hot sauces, and canned vegetables. Many Illinois entrepreneurs make delicious and creative recipes in their home kitchens.
Unfortunately, the current Illinois regulations around cottage food businesses are some of the most restrictive in the country and they hinder home bakers and other cottage food producers from growing. Depending on the municipality, many of these Illinois entrepreneurs are not allowed to sell anywhere but a farmers’ market. Even if a home baker's town allows them to deliver baked goods directly, their sales are capped at $1,000 every month! These restrictions contribute to a burdensome business climate that prevents home-based businesses from making enough revenue to pay the bills or to open up a brick-and-mortar. Coupled with the COVID-19 restrictions, which temporarily closed down farmers’ markets, a lot of cottage food entrepreneurs are hurting right now. The COVID pandemic has made it more important than ever for people to start businesses selling safe homemade food to their community.
Help local food entrepreneurs by supporting IL House Bill 2615/Senate Bill 2007 (Home-to-Market Act)! Sign this cottage food petition and this endorsement letter to receive updates and action alerts for this bill.
Who We Are
The Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship is a non-profit legal clinic located in the University of Chicago Law School. We’re both a watchdog for entrepreneurs who get tangled up in unnecessary red tape and a legal clinic that provides legal assistance to a small group of low-income entrepreneurs. Our organization has done a lot of cottage food advocacy work throughout the country and we’re constantly pushing to help home bakers and other food entrepreneurs obtain more rights to be able to sell their homemade treats without having to navigate unnecessary red tape or regulations.
Get updates from IJ's Clinic at the Univ. of Chicago
We’re working with legislators, the IL Stewardship Alliance, and the IL Environmental Council to pass IL House Bill 2615/Senate Bill 2007. Some of the changes we’re advocating for are:
- Provide cottage food operators with more sales avenues such as festivals, community fairs, online sales, and home delivery.
- Add buttercream icing to the list of products that can be made in a home kitchen to allow the sales of cakes, cupcakes, and other in-demand baked goods.
- Allow all home bakers across the state to sell products without a $1000 monthly sales cap
- Provide additional food safety measures that ensure public safety while at the same reasonably allowing farmers and food entrepreneurs to operate from home kitchens.
Along with improving the livelihood of Illinois food entrepreneurs, this bill will grow the number of food businesses in Illinois, bring in more tax revenue, develop rural economies, and introduce healthier food options in communities with food deserts.