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.

UPDATE 06/24: You can support small farms and food businesses in your community

With your support, Alliance members worked with the General Assembly this Spring to unanimously pass the Home-to-Market Act SB2007.

This exciting new legislation helps farmers and food entrepreneurs grow a business from their home kitchen and gives Illinois shoppers greater access to support their neighbors and enjoy all the unique, local, and artisan foods that Illinois has to offer.

Now the bill is headed to the Governor’s desk.

You can help get that legislation across the finish line.

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

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.