National Street Vending Initiative

The Institute for Justice's Fight to Legalize Street Vending

Through its National Street Vending Initiative, the Institute for Justice challenges anti-competitive laws that harm street vendors by unconstitutionally restricting their right to earn an honest living. The initiative helps vendors defeat such restrictions by bringing lawsuits in state and federal courts, equipping vendors to fight these restrictions through activism, and educating the public about the social and economic importance of street vending.

In 2016, we launched a new case challenging Baltimore’s strict regulations on food trucks. We also released a new report that revealed how Chicago’s food truck red tape hinders economic opportunity and stifles consumer choice.

STREET VENDORS: Does your city have laws that seem designed to keep you from competing with other businesses? Do these laws make it difficult—or even impossible—for you to run your business? If so, we can help. Please e-mail us at

Here, you can check out the initiative’s interactive map about our ongoing and past work in cities across the country, learn the about the experiences of street vendors who are fighting protectionist laws, read our educational publications on street vending and follow newsworthy developments about street-vending laws in cities throughout the United States.


Vending Cities

Recent Cases

  • Carolina Beach Food Trucks

    Variety is, as the saying goes, the spice of life. Restaurants have menus because consumer like being able to choose what they eat and where they eat it. In the last decade, consumers have grown to love the choices provided by hard-working food-truck owners, like Michelle Rock, Aaron & Monica Cannon, and Harley Bruce who…

  • Fish Creek, WI Vending

    Two million tourists annually come to Wisconsin’s lovely Door County for breathtaking lakeside views, water sports, cherry picking and much more. Unfortunately, one town there—Gibraltar—has recently made Door County a little less lovely. In a fit of anti-competitive pique, Gibraltar has banned restaurants on wheels, to the detriment of the town’s entrepreneurs and their customers.…

  • Louisville Vending

    Nobody should need their competitors’ permission to operate a business. But the government of Louisville is forcing that very requirement on local food trucks. City law bans food trucks from operating within 150 feet of every restaurant in the city that sells similar food. As a result, large swaths of Louisville have become “no-vending” zones,…

See All




  • July 18, 2017    |   Economic Liberty

    Washington, D.C., has one of the best food-truck scenes in the country. Indeed, the success of the local food truck industry—aided by D.C. bureaucrats’ uncharacteristic decision to avoid strangling it in red tape while it was in its infancy—gave hope to many that D.C. might actually be working to rehabilitate its (well-deserved) reputation as a…

  • July 18, 2017    |   Economic Liberty

    Until September 2015, it was illegal for pushcart vendors to sell any food other than whole produce or packaged frozen desserts in Chicago. The IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship teamed up with street vendors across the city to form the Street Vendors Justice Coalition, to fight for the vendors’ right to earn an honest living. After…

  • July 18, 2017    |   Economic Liberty

    New Orleanians love food trucks. Yet, despite their enormous popularity, food truck entrepreneurs in the Crescent City faced some of the worst laws in the nation. They could not operate within 600 feet of brick-and-mortar restaurants, had to move every 45 minutes, and were banned entirely from the Central Business District and French Quarter. These…


In The News


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