J. Justin Wilson
J. Justin Wilson · May 12, 2022

Gov. Ned Lamont this week signed SB 187, a bill that will expand the ability of cottage food producers across the state to earn an honest living. Currently, cottage food producers—people who make shelf-stable foods at home and sell them in their communities—are permitted to sell up to $25,000 of cottage foods each year. This bill, championed by Reps. Phil Young and Devin Carney, will double that cap to $50,000 and provide much needed income to producers across the state.  

Enacted in 2018, Connecticut’s cottage food law previously had one of the lowest annual revenue caps in the country. According to a recent report by the Institute for Justice, only four other states had a lower revenue cap to sell home-baked goods, while over 30 states have no revenue cap at all for most home-based food businesses.  

SB 187 will help cottage food producers like Jessica Brainsky. Born and raised in Trumbull, Jessica is currently living and operating her business selling intricately decorated sugar cookies in Massachusetts where there is no legal limit to her cottage foods income. “I have been trying to move back to Connecticut for years. All my family is there, and I would love to run my business back home, but the cap made that impossible,” says Jessica.  

“With these changes, I will be able to come back, plant roots and start a family. I dream of my business flourishing in Connecticut—close to all the people I know and love, supporting and giving back to the community I still call home.” Once the higher cap goes into effect on October 1, that dream can become a reality. 

Jessica is just one of the tens of thousands of people across the country who have opened their own cottage food business. Connecticut now joins 15 other states that have expanded their homemade foods laws since the start of the pandemic. The growing, nationwide food freedom movement is creating new economic opportunities, especially for women and rural communities. Instead of having to pay tens of thousands of dollars a year to rent a commercial kitchen and comply with burdensome food licensing regulations, people can now turn their home kitchens into business incubators. 

“Connecticut’s cottage food law has already created much needed income for families across the state and made it easier for people to buy fresh and local food,” said Jennifer McDonald, an Institute for Justice assistant director of activism who worked on the bill with Reps. Young and Carney. “SB 187 is a commonsense change to catch Connecticut up to other states and expand economic opportunities for everyone.” 

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