In late February of this year California State Assemblymember Cheryl Brown introduced AB 2593, a bill to legalize the sales of homemade food, including hot meals, within certain limits. The bill would provide a dramatic expansion of California citizens’ ability to legally sell homemade food. Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) was heavily involved in advocating for the California Homemade Food Act of 2012, a.k.a the cottage food law, authored by Assemblymember Mike Gatto. So we wanted to post about this new bill, although SELC is not sponsoring or supporting it at this time.
Assemblymember Brown’s new bill is sponsored by a web startup company called Josephine, which is headquartered in Oakland, California. Although homemade meals have been shared in many ways for millennia, recently there has been a growing trend of purchasing homemade meals through websites that advertise the sale of meals and facilitate payment processing. Josephine operates one such website. California law (like other state laws) does not allow these these types of transactions, but many of them are happening anyway. The proliferation of websites selling meals has the potential to grow the popularity of buying homemade meals - something many of us in the food movement are excited about - but this also raises concerns for us here at SELC when we think about what happens when tech companies spur rapid new trends that defy consumer protection or public safety laws.
To discuss all of the above, SELC and Josephine will be hosting a town hall style event together on Wednesday, April 20 in Oakland and we’d like you to join us!
Date: Wednesday, April 20
Time: 6:30 to 8:30pm
Location: Oakstop Coworking + Event Space, 1721 Broadway #201, Oakland, CA, 94612
RSVP: Please! At this LINK
Can’t wait until the town hall event to get your ideas flowing? Here’s a suggested reading list about this topic:
“5 Ways the Take Back Tech” in The Nation featuring a contribution from SELC’s Executive Director and co-founder, Janelle Orsi
“The True Sharing Economy” in the East Bay Express, highlighting the work of SELC and the concerns about mainstream “sharing economy” tech companies:
“The Shareable Food Movement Meets the Law” on Shareable.net written by our former Intern Kelly Densmore and Executive Director Janelle Orsi - though this article is a few years old now it’s more relevant to these conversations today than ever!
Also check back here on our food news blog after the event for more discussion of this legislation.
Don’t live in or near Oakland but want to join the conversation? We are interested in hosting more discussions on this topic in other cities in California. Let us know if you would be willing to volunteer to bring together local cooks, eaters, and local leaders in your community to host a similar event by sending an email to Christina@theselc.org.