Cottage food industry may get boost from bill

By Jonathan Kauffman for the San Francisco Chronicle

Photo: Paul Chinn, The 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.


Christina Oatfield, policy director of the Sustainable Economies Law Center in Oakland, helped shape California’s 2012 Homemade Food Act, but she backed out of talks with Josephine over the new bill.

“We’re concerned that the bill will be tailored to the needs and desires of tech companies,” Oatfield said. Her organization is circulating a different policy proposal: Any service used to market home-cooked meals and collect payment “should be owned by the cooks, a nonprofit, or a government agency.”

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