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Selling Homemade Food in West Virginia

So you want to start your own business selling homemade food in West Virginia? That’s great news because selling homemade food or “cottage food” in the Mountain State is much easier thanks to a law passed on June 5, 2019. Now you can sell your goods directly from homes, sell online and ship through the mail, and even sell them at retail shops. To help you get started, the Institute for Justice has prepared a West Virginia cottage food startup guide… 

West Virginia cottage food reform

It hasn’t always been this easy to sell cottage food in West Virginia. Prior to the 2019 reform, you only could sell at seasonal farmers’ markets and sporadic community events. But because of the efforts of over 250 cottage food producers from around the state, the Institute for Justice and the state’s Department of Agriculture, Senate Bill 285 passed with bipartisan support. 

West Virginia cottage food facts

Myths about cottage food abound. Here are the facts: 

  • Cottage food is safe. Critics who talk about the risk of food-borne illness give hypothetical examples of what could go wrong because real-world cases are rare or nonexistent. 
  • Cottage food is local. When neighbors trade with neighbors, money stays in the local economy. 
  • Cottage food is transparent. People who buy from a cottage food producer know what they get. If they have questions about ingredients, sourcing or safety, they can ask.
  • Cottage food creates jobs. Many homemade food producers use their income to provide for their families. Others seek a secondary or supplemental income. 
  • Cottage food empowers women. IJ cottage food research shows that most cottage food producers are women, and many live in rural areas with limited economic opportunity.
  • Cottage food expands consumer choice. Some stores simply don’t sell what you want. This is especially true if you have a gluten-free, peanut-free, halal, kosher or vegan diet. Cottage food fills market gaps, giving consumers more options.

West Virginia cottage food resources 

As part of its Food Freedom Initiative, the Institute for Justice provides a variety of resources for home bakers and other food entrepreneurs. These include: 

Selling Homemade Food in West Virginia

West Virginia cottage food resources:

  • West Virginia Cottage Food Bill: Like our Facebook page to learn more about the West Virginia cottage food law, how you can get involved, and learn tips of the trade from fellow cottage food producers.

Tell your West Virginia story

Is government violating your homemade food freedom in West Virginia? Do you have a potential case for IJ? Get started here… 

Support West Virginia legislation

Help expand cottage food laws in West Virginia by teaming with the Institute for Justice. Send an email with your name, background information and availability to get started… 

Defending homemade food freedom nationwide 

People have a right to earn an honest living without arbitrary and excessive government interference. Since 2013, the Institute for Justice has defended home bakers and chefs as part of its Food Freedom Initiative. Read about IJ’s nationwide food freedom advocacy…

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All information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Statutes, regulations, and processes are subject to change at any time, and specific facts and circumstances could alter how they are applied. If you have questions about the regulation of cottage foods in your jurisdiction, we recommend consulting a lawyer who can help you navigate the process. 

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