Democratizing the Homemade Food Industry
California, Let's Not Make an Uber Mistake with Homemade Food!
Join us in telling Sacramento that AB 626 puts the rights of tech platform owners above the rights of home cooks.
In 2012, the Law Center worked alongside allies and food movement leaders to pass the California Homemade Food Act. We are passionate about legalizing homemade food sales and providing increased opportunities for local food production and sales, especially for low-income entrepreneurs who don’t have the resources to access expensive commercial kitchens. In 2017, a bill AB 626, was introduced in the California Legislature to expand the types of homemade foods allowed to be sold in California, especially hot meals. Introduced by Assemblymembers Eduardo Garcia and Joaquin Arambula, the bill is sponsored by a for-profit, venture capital backed tech company whose app (illegally) sells home cooked hot meals. The bill has been moving through the State Legislature in Sacramento ever since, continually being amended to benefit tech platform owners and their investors while leaving out the people who create the value for the tech companies: the home cooks!
After many conversations with stakeholders from around California, we’ve decided that we cannot support the current homemade food legislation. The "gig economy" has shown itself to "disrupt" industries for the primary benefit of investors and outside shareholders, leaving workers behind. The current homemade food legislation has been written under the direction of tech company executives and lobbyists to meet the needs of web app developers and their investors. We see harmful consequences for workers and public safety in this newest version of Silicon Valley disruption.
This is a crossroads moment for the food movement: Will homemade food be taken over by the likes of Uber and Amazon, or will it build on the success of community-driven institutions like farmers’ markets and worker cooperatives? Help bring home cooks back to the negotiating table.
Food News Blog posts:
"A New Homemade Food Act" (April 13, 2016): an intro about efforts made in 2016 to change the law.
"Update on the New Homemade Food Bill" (May 2, 2016): a more in-depth discussion about ownership and control of our food system and an update on the legislative efforts.
"Preliminary Feedback on New Homemade Food Sales Policy" (October 4, 2016): a report-back from a series of conversations in Southern California discussing nuts and bolts issues to be addressed in potential legislation.
"Nuts and Bolts: More Ideas for Regulating Homemade Food in California" (October 6, 2016): a discussion of some more nuanced issues to be addressed in terms of food handling and preparation.
"Stockton Mom Prosecuted for Selling Homemade Food" (November 10, 2016): reaction to the prosecution of home cook Mariza Ruelas.
"New Homemade Food Legislation - 2017" (February 16, 2017): update on a new bill, AB 626, and our take on it.
"Homemade Food Bill (AB 626) Stalls in Assembly" (June 13, 2017): describes why giving platform users some small amount of equity in a tech company is insufficient for addressing concerns about exploitation in the "gig economy" and notes AB 626's new timeline.
But What's Legal Now? Looking for information on the current "Cottage Food Law" or Homemade Food Act that you can use to start a home-based food business in California now? Click here.