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
Democratizing The Homemade Food Economy
California's Cottage Food Law
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!
What Next on Homemade Food Law in California?
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 was introduced in the California Legislature (AB 626) to expand the types of homemade foods allowed to be sold in California, especially hot meals. The bill, however, is sponsored by a for-profit, venture capital-backed tech company whose app facilitates that sale of home cooked hot meals and is 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!
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.
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 in your backyard if you live in an property governed by a Homeowners' Association or if you rent a single family home or flat in a duplex. Click here for the FAQ.
NEW! California Urban Agriculture Food Safety Guide: this very comprehensive guide was created by our Law Center in collaboration with UC Cooperative Extension and it contains the most up-to-date information on federal and on California food safety laws, as well as tons of practical steps and tips for implementing good practices on your urban farm. Click here to download the PDF.
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.
"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
Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) introduces SELC's The California Homemade Food Act (AB 1616) to create a pathway for the legal sale of safe homemade food products -- helping micro food businesses throughout the state prosper, and ultimately foster the healthy/local food movement.Read more