By Jonathan Kauffman for the San Francisco Chronicle
Photo Credit: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle
Excerpt: This week, Assemblymen Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella (Riverside County), and Joaquin Arambula, D-Fresno, are introducing AB626, the Homemade Food Operations Act, a bill that would allow home cooks to sell hot, prepared foods directly to customers. Though it is backed by Josephine, a for-profit Oakland online startup that connects home cooks with nearby customers, the bill could have a much broader impact on low-income and immigrant communities across the state.Read more
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued proposed additions to the list of allowed foods under the CA Homemade Food Act yesterday. These are proposed additions to the list, so the changes to the list will not go into effect for another 30 days and are subject to change based on public comment.Read more
The following organizations and businesses voiced their support for AB 1616, the California Homemade Food Act. Thank you.
Click here for links to news media stories and notable blog posts about the California Homemade Food Act.
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO
Anne Hamersky Photography
Aunt Ems Urban Inn + Farm
Berkeley Food Policy Council
Buried River Ranch
California Food and Justice Coalition
California State Grange
Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture
Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy
Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF)
East Bay Urban Agriculture Alliance
Ecology Center of San Francisco
Episcopal Diocese of California
Feel the Earth
Friends of Alemany Farm
From the Ground Up
Future Action Reclamation Mob
Garden for the Environment
Green Earth Gardens
Hayes Valley Farm
How to Homestead
Institute of Domestic Technology
Itty Bitty Farm in the City
Little City Gardens
Los Angeles Bread Bakers
Mission Community Market
Mission Vertical Farming
Oakland Food Policy Council
People Organized to Win Employment Rights
Produce to the People
Roots of Change
Saint Vincent de Paul Society
San Diego Hunger Coalition
San Francisco Bee-Cause
San Francisco Food Security Task Force
San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance
San Francisco Landscapes
San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance
San Francisco Permaculture Guild
Slow Food Santa Cruz
Sustainable Economies Law Center
Tenderloin People’s Garden
The Free Farm
The Garden Community
Whole Foods Market Northern California
In 2012 the Sustainable Economies Law Center worked closely with the Los Angeles Bread Bakers, the California State Grange and the Office of Assemblymember Mike Gatto to pass the California Homemade Food Act, which now allows certain kinds of small food enterprises to operate out of home kitchens, called "Cottage Food Operations" in the new law. Dozens of other organizations and businesses and countless individuals also supported the bill by writing letters, making phone calls and showing up at their legislators' offices and committee meetings to express their support. The bill would not have passed without the efforts of all these groups and individuals!
This comprehensive guide covers California-specific legal topics for small and medium sized food enterprises, including restaurants, farms, and grocery stores. Click here to download the PDF!
Do you know about California's Neighborhood Food Act? It could help YOU grow food where you live. Click here for the FAQ.
How to Sell and Donate Produce in California: A Bite-Sized Legal Guide. Click here for the PDF!
How to Sell Eggs in California: A Bite-Sized Legal Guide. Click here for the PDF!
En Español: Cómo: Vender Huevos en California
How to Get Organic Certification in California: A Bite-Sized Legal Guide. Click here for the PDF!
How to Run an ADA Accessible Urban Farm: A Bite-Sized Legal Guide. Click here for the PDF!
How to Sell Produce in San Jose, California (for farmers and retailers): Click here for the PDF!
How to Start a Home-Based Food Business: A Bite-Sized Legal Guide. Click here for the PDF!
En Español: Cómo: Crear una Empresa de Comida Casera
How to Become a Personal Chef in California: A Bite-Sized Legal Guide. Click here for the PDF!
How to Operate a Pushcart in Oakland, California: A Bite-Sized Legal Guide. Click here for the PDF!
For the latest legislative developments about California homemade food laws, check out our Food News Blog.
Do you need to raise money for your food or farm enterprise? Are you interested in raising money from ordinary people instead of banks and other financial institutions? Then you should use our Grassroots Finance Guide for California Farmers!
For additional creative financing resources, check out our Grassroots Finance page.
Workshops: For a list of our upcoming workshops, click here to see the events page.
Legal Advice: We offer donation-based legal advice to small-scale food enterprises and other community-based enterprises through our Resilient Communities Legal Cafe. Locations rotate weekly to different San Francisco Bay Area locations. Click here to see the schedule and RSVP.
Bite-Sized Guides: We are constantly creating new easy-to-understand legal guides on a variety of topics, including food and farming! Click here to visit see all of our bite-sized guides.
We envision networks of many local food systems comprised of community controlled, ecologically sound, and socially just enterprises.
About Our Food Program
Our food system is not well served by today’s predominant food business models, which incentivize growth, shareholder profit maximization, absentee ownership, and exploitation of resources. The ownership and governance structures of an enterprise largely determine the motivations that drive it. And the large, centralized food producers that dominate food systems today are usually owned and governed by white men and driven by financial bottom lines to the detriment of more important ends: equitable control over the food system, providing healthy food and fair economic opportunity to people working within the food system, and redressing injustice.
Systemic oppression within our food system has most negatively impacted rural communities, communities of color, and low-income communities, so our focus is on supporting these historically and currently marginalized communities to take back control over the economic engines of our food system. The cornerstone of our work is the belief that enterprises should be owned and controlled by the workers and communities who depend on them, and this is true for the food economy as much as any other sector. We believe that the right to define how local food systems are organized belong to the people who participate throughout the food chain, from the farm to the compost pile.
Sustainable Economies Law Center’s Food Program provides education, research, advice and advocacy to advance food systems built around this vision.
For information specifically about our Farmland Program, click here.
Food Policy Advocacy
Resources for Food Enterprises
We provide free legal guides on various topics for small and medium scale food and farm enterprises. Click here!
For all the latest updates about our Food Program, read our Food News blog. Click here!
"If we are going to move from the current centralized food system to a local, diversified new food economy, sharing has to be part of the solution. Corporate control of our food system vests decision-making power with a very small group of people whose profit-maximizing goals often deplete resources from communities rather than strengthen them..."Read more
Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1616, the California Homemade Food Act, into law on September 21, 2012, and it went into effect on January 1, 2013. Now it is legal to produce some types of food for sale in a home kitchen. Next year, the California Neighborhood Food Act will likely become law, enabling citizens to legally sell produce grown on residential lots. The two laws will work together synergistically, such that tiny food artisans may source from tiny growers.Read more
Food biz proprietors and other local experts offer their top tips for new food entrepreneurs.Read more