TAKE ACTION to support the Home-to-Market Act

Erin Keyser of Hanover makes healthy lunches and snacks from local ingredients in her home kitchen– homemade granola bars with local honey and grains and beautiful grab-n-go salads in a jar with produce from her garden and neighboring farms.

But you can’t easily buy her products.

Contacting you legislator is easy!
We drafted a letter that you can send with the click of a button.

Existing state regulations prevent cottage food producers like Erin from selling products outside of farmers markets with few exceptions.

She cannot offer pick-up from her home. She cannot sell at fairs and festivals. She cannot ship her granola bars to your house. She cannot deliver to your door.

Shoppers are looking for fresh, local products — and Erin wants to serve them — but current regulations prevent her from growing her business and reaching new customers.

You can help!

Ask your legislator to co-sponsor the Home-to-Market Act HB2651/SB2007 sponsored by State Rep. Will Guzzardi and State Sen. David Koehler. Contact you legislator

Contacting you legislator is easy!
We drafted a letter that you can send with the click of a button.

The Home-to-Market Act expands sales avenues for cottage food businesses, includes additional food safety provisions to protect public safety, and adds buttercream icing to the list of products that can be made under cottage food law. 

These smart reforms will create more opportunities to grow for Erin and more local granola bars, cupcakes, jams, pickles, and artisan foods for you!

Last year, the pandemic delayed some farmers markets from opening, leaving cottage food businesses without a place to sell their products or earn income. At the same time, pandemic layoffs, especially in the restaurant industry, inspired new food entrepreneurs looking to earn income from their home. The Home-to-Market Act can help. 

The Home-to-Market Act provides a no-cost hand up to small farms and businesses across the state, and gives YOU more access to the local foods and unique Illinois products you love. Urge your lawmaker to support Home-to-Market Act

Contacting you legislator is easy!
We drafted a letter that you can send with the click of a button.

Illinois has an estimated 500 cottage food businesses in operation. These businesses are primarily women-owned. Many are small farms. Your support is critical to helping them grow their food business dreams.

Overview of the Home-to-Market Act

Below is a short overview of the Home-to-Market Act. You can find a detailed analysis of the bill here. 

What is cottage food?

Cottage foods are foods prepared and packaged in a home-kitchen for sale at farmers markets. These may include jams, jellies, baked goods, pickles, hot sauces, salsas, canned tomatoes and other artisan foods and pre-made foods. Illinois has an estimated 500+ cottage food producers, with growing interest.

What does the Home-to-Market Act Do in a Nutshell?

  • Expands sales avenues for cottage food producers to include sales at fairs and festivals, from home, online, and through home delivery, enabling cottage food entrepreneurs to reach new customers and grow their businesses.
  • Includes buttercream icing to the list of products that can be made in a home kitchen, freeing up home bakers to make cakes, cupcakes, and other in-demand baked goods.
  • Adds further food safety provisions in order to insure public safety while reasonably allowing farmers and food entrepreneurs to operate from home kitchens.
  • This Act DOES NOT allow for retail sales, such as sales to restaurants, grocery stores, or distributors.
  • This Act DOES NOT allow for on-site preparation of foods or catering. All products must be prepared and packaged in the home kitchen.

Who will benefit? 

  • Women-owned businesses. In a recent survey by Illinois Stewardship Alliance, 77% of cottage food entrepreneurs are owned by women.
  • Low-income entrepreneurs. Good cottage food regulations provide a low-cost entry point for starting and growing a food business.
  • Small farmers.  In a recent survey by Illinois Stewardship Alliance, 33% of cottage food entrepreneurs described themselves. Cottage foods give farmers the ability to add more value to their fruits and vegetables and increase their bottom lines by turning them into the products that consumers crave. They also make Illinois farmers markets and agritourism venues more unique and more marketable. 
  • The public. This bill provides consumers with more choice and more options to support local farms and businesses in our state and experience unique and delicious products grown and made in Illinois

Equity Impact:

  • This bill will address food sovereignty. People should reasonably be able to make and sell food to feed their communities, and this bill provides that opportunity.
  • This bill will provide greater opportunity to minority and women-owned businesses who have traditionally had less resources to start their own businesses. 

Economic Impact: 

  • This bill will grow the number and income of food businesses in our state, capturing greater tax revenue for our state.
  • This bill will keep more food dollars local and support local businesses. In a recent survey by Illinois Stewardship Alliance, an overwhelming majority of cottage food producers prioritize purchasing ingredients from neighboring farms and businesses.
  • This bill will build rural economies by growing rural businesses and keeping food dollars in rural economies. In a recent survey by Illinois Stewardship Alliance, over 1/2 of all cottage food producers live in rural areas. 

Contacting you legislator is easy!
We drafted a letter that you can send with the click of a button.