Spreading Cottage Food Reform Nationwide 

December 1, 2022

For generations, people have been making and sharing homemade food, also known as cottage food, with their neighbors. In recent years, IJ has achieved sweeping victories protecting the rights of entrepreneurs and consumers against severe restrictions on selling cottage food. Among other things, thanks to IJ’s advocacy, every state and the District of Columbia now allow home bakers to sell their goods. 

But there is still work to be done to promote food freedom. This year at state capitols, IJ worked on 12 bills, securing legislative victories in eight states. Our efforts included securing passage of one of the nation’s most expansive food freedom laws in Iowa, allowing the sale of nearly all homemade food—even perishable food and meat.  

Other reforms lifted restrictions on where and how cottage food could be sold. These efforts responded to real-world problems cottage food producers face. For example, in Rhode Island, the state restricted cottage food sales to farmers—less than 1% of the population. Now, anyone can sell cottage food. And in Indiana, cottage food producers could sell food only at farmers’ markets and roadside stands, which meant many had no place to sell their products during Indiana’s harsh winters. Producers there can now sell their products anywhere, directly to consumers and online.  

Next year, cottage food reform will remain an important part of our economic liberty work. In some states, we will pick up where we left off working with resolute cottage food producers on existing legislation. We will also seize new legislative opportunities to lift needless barriers—and advance food freedom—for entrepreneurs and consumers.

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