California’s legalization of homemade food will provide a means of economic empowerment for minority communities.
(Sacramento – CA) Governor Brown has signed Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia’s (D-Coachella) Homemade Food Act making California the first state in the nation to allow a permitting process for home cooks to prepare and sell meals to the public.
AB 626 adds clarity to existing food laws, improves public health safeguards and creates a new, county-level permitting and inspection process for “microenterprise home kitchens.” This legislation stands to have an overwhelmingly positive impact on local economies throughout the state as well as for immigrants, women, low-income residents, and communities of color.
“The success of AB 626 will propel California into the new food enterprise frontier, one that is just, inclusive and contains opportunities for all. Legitimizing these home businesses will offer a means of economic empowerment and pathways for many to achieve the ‘American dream’ of success and income self-sufficiency," exclaimed Assemblymember Garcia who put forward this legislation in response to feedback from his constituents experiencing difficulties navigating through the state’s stringent cottage food laws.
This measure will knock down barriers for marginalized populations who often lack access to the professional food world.
“For many people throughout the state, cooking and selling meals from their home kitchen is the only means by which they are able to earn an income to help their families,” shared Mayor Pro Tem Emmanuel Martinez, City of Coachella.
“Many of us have seen and bought food from these folks, such as the famous Elotero, or person who sells hot dogs, tacos, or cakes who, because of the barriers to entry, cannot afford to establish a traditional restaurant. AB 626 brings these people out of the shadows and creates a regulatory framework that nourishes their entrepreneurial spirit and facilitates the public's access to healthy, home-cooked meals. The City of Coachella applauds the great work by our Assemblyman.”
Angela Janus, Executive Director of ShareKitchen a Coachella Valley based food industry development non-profit that has been helping culinary entrepreneurs launch businesses, agrees, “AB 626 will help foster and grow small businesses in our community and create jobs. Both our local and regional partners throughout Riverside County strongly feel that this measure will provide valuable opportunities to local cooks who can launch and grow small food businesses from home, eliminating barriers to entry into the local food economy.”
Along these same lines, the Governor has also signed into law SB 946, Safe Sidewalk Vending Act (Lara/E. Garcia). This complimentary bill coauthored by Garcia would decriminalize sidewalk vending.