Can Cottage Food Laws Help Our Economy?

Cottage Food Laws are allowing entrepreneurs get small businesses started all across the country. It might not seem like a big deal, but when you take a look at small business in general, you begin to realize how vital successful small businesses are to our successful economy. I know what you are thinking, at this moment, our economy pretty much stinks. While there is truth to that statement, the prescription to recovery is making it easy for small business to start and grow.

Cottage food laws do just that. By making start-up affordable for most people, lots of small businesses are starting up and in the growth stage. Let’s take a look at why they are so important to helping our country dig it’s way out of the mess we are currently in. Small businesses create the majority of the jobs, and since our unemployment rates are soaring, success of small businesses can lead us to better economic times.

One small business starts an economic engine

If that sounds like an bold statement, I guess it is, but it also is true. I will use my experience with my gift basket company.

  • I would get an order from a customer. To fill that order, I would have to purchase all the supplies I needed. I would need a basket to hold the products. That purchase supported the global economy because they came from the Philippines. People there had jobs to grow and harvest the wicker, weave them into baskets, receive and process the orders, pack and ship them. The shippers hired people to pack them. The boats that transported them here hired all the staff needed to said the boat. When the boat arrived in this country, people at the dock had jobs to unload the freight and get it into a warehouse. The workers at the warehouse had jobs to determine the destination and load them on the transport to deliver them to the vendor I purchased them from. The vendor has people who work for him at his warehouse who process the order and load it into my van.
  • The baskets were then filled with baked goods. Oh my goodness, let’s look at what is involved in that. Let’s start with the farmers who planted the seeds for the wheat. They had to plant, care for and harvest the crop. In many cases they have hired help and created jobs for others. Other farmers had to tend the chickens who produced the eggs, cows who provided the milk and butter. People had to harvest the sugar cane. Factories had to process the refine the sugar, and process it differently to produce brown sugar. Then it had to be packaged. Think of what went into the process to produce the packaging. More factories, more jobs, more packing, shipping, warehouses etc. That does not even address the equipment that I have in my kitchen, in the factories, shipping yards, warehouses, the vehicles that were responsible for making it all possible.
  • The above is by no means a complete assessment of everything involved in the baking process, but I am sure you get the picture so I will move on. Once the items were baked, many people were hired to package each individual cookie, mini breads, brownies etc. Again, a lot of packaging and all the jobs that are involved in producing all the polypropylene bags. That would include those working in the oil fields and rigs, the refineries, the factories that then make the bags, the shippers, distributors etc. More jobs, more people fueling the economy.
  • Now the product was baked and packaged. Next the baskets needed to be packed and wrapped. The baskets were first shrink wrapped, then a cellophane layer was added. Needless to say, as with all the other products, each of the wrapping materials provided many jobs along the way. Once wrapped, we used lots of various things to decorate the gift basket, ranging from artificial flowers & greenery, decorative holiday ornaments, bells, and ribbon. Again, trace all the steps back and consider all the jobs involved in the production of each of those products.
  • We often shipped baskets. That required a trip to the box factory and the packing peanuts. More jobs. Once boxed and packed, off to the shipping company, yet again more jobs.

Cottage Food Laws Promote Small Businesses

The point here is that there are a lot of positive reasons to have Cottage Food Laws on the books across the country. Making business start up is critical to cleaning up the economic mess our county is in. Across the board, we should do whatever possible to limit the roadblocks to starting a business. It is the entrepreneurs willing to put in the hard work and take the risks that will in the end create the jobs needed to put this county back on track.

I would encourage you to write your Representatives in your state to either pass the laws initially, or rewrite the laws to get rid of all the red tape and gray area that some of the laws contain. As long as I am on my soapbox, if a state has passed Cottage laws, it should be applicable throughout the entire state. Local health departments should not have the ability to override the laws.

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