October Webinar Event

Hi everybody! Just wanted to give you an update on some events happening with the Minnesota Cottage Food Producers Association.

On last months webinar we had a fantastic time chatting with Patricia Bedford, owner of Suga’s Cakery, about marketing and pricing. She had so much interesting and useful information that we could have chatted for hours! We will be uploading this recording for association members to view on our website mncfpa.org soon.

This month we are delighted to talk with Mary Bolger, owner of Icing Art by Mary Bolger, as she shares with us her passion for cookie decorating. Please join us on October 26th, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm, for an evening of learning new techniques for designing and icing cookies, or for tips on how to sharpen your skills.

Mary is an artist who creates custom cookies for everyday celebrations and was featured on Twin Cities Live. She began to learn the art of cookie design in 2002 and discovered her passion. Mary stays on the cutting edge of cookie decorating trends, and is a registered cottage food producer in Minnesota.

In this class, Mary will teach attendees how to create designs of their own using royal icing. She will demonstrate and discuss how to design and ice cookies from beginning to end and answer any questions that you may have. This is a great opportunity to learn the basics or add to your skill set.

This class will be taught via Zoom with a link to the class sent to you via email after you register. This is a free event for current MNCFPA members. The registration fee for this class for non-members is $25.00. MNCFPA hopes that you are able to join us and learn how to decorate with royal icing like a pro.

Cost: MNCFPA Members: Free Non-Members: $25

Location: Online Event, click the link below for tickets from Eventbrite

Cookie Design & Decorating with Mary Bolger

Note: Minnesota Cottage Food Producers Association membership is only $35 per year. This event is free for current MNCFPA membersThe cost for nonmembers is $25. A Zoom link will be emailed to you upon registration.

September Webinar Event

Engineering a Successful Home Business: Marketing and Pricing for Success – September 22nd from 7 pm- 8 pm via Zoom

Patricia is owner of Suga’s Cakery and is a cottage food producer in Texas. A former engineer who changed career paths to pursue her passion for baking. Now her successful home based business has grown to the point that she is moving her business out of her home. Patricia will be sharing information with us on marketing your business for growth and pricing your products.

Note: Minnesota Cottage Food Producers Association membership is only $35 per year. If you join MNCFPA before September 1, 2020 your membership will not expire until December 31, 2021. This event is free for current MNCFPA membersThe cost for nonmembers is $20. A Zoom link will be emailed to you upon registration.

To register for this event: https://www.mncfpa.org/event/engineering-a-successful-home-business-pricing-marketing-for-success/

To join MNCFPA: https://www.mncfpa.org/membership/

August 2020 Update

Hello Everyone! Hope you have been enjoying this beautiful summer weather.

In July we held three webinars to discuss the Covid Preparedness Plan in conjunction with the University of MN Extension Food Safety Team, the MDA and the MFMA. The original guidelines were not very compatible for cottage food producers so we rewrote it to tailor our specific industry. This is template was made just to be of assistance, you can totally write your own plan however you like to, just be aware to follow the state mandated guidelines. If you would like to check out our template you can find it here on our website: MN Cottage Food Producer’s Association.

Even though the law passed five years ago, very often you may still come across other food makers who are not aware of the cottage food law. Because of this we were asked to create a handout to make it easier to share this information with others. Therefore, with the collaboration of the MN Farmers’ Market Association, the Dept. of Agriculture, and the University of MN Extension, we the MN Cottage Food Producer’s Association have created this handout for your convenience. You may click on this link to download and print out this form. CFP Registration Handout

We will soon be holding a series of webinars such as cake & cookie decorating tips, tax info, and other interesting topics. Please stay tuned for more information.

Mark your calendars! The Third Annual Cottage Food Producer’s Conference will be via Zoom and held on Jan. 7th & 8th, 2021. We will share more details at a later date.

The Minnesota Cottage Food Producer’s Association’s focus is to increase communication with fellow CFPs, create additional industry focused educational opportunities, and provide a strong united voice at the State Capitol to improve our existing laws. For more information on becoming a member of the MN Cottage Food Producer’s Association, please go to mncfpa.org.

Stay safe and enjoy the summer weeks!

 

Upcoming Zoom Meetings

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Hello Folks! I want to thank everyone who joined us this morning as we talked about the COVID-19 Preparedness Plan template that we have created for Cottage Food Producers. Many thanks to the University of MN Extension and the Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture for their help and guidance. We had a good discussion. If you were unable to attend there are links to this information on our website mncfpa.org. Since there were some people who were not aware of the webinar we had today, but would have liked to join us, we have decided to hold another one on July 16th. The information is below:

CFPs COVID-19 Preparedness Plan Overview/Guidance
When: Thu Jul 16, 2020 3pm – 4pm Central Time – Chicago

Join Zoom Meeting
umn.zoom.us/j/94599143042?pwd=Um… (ID: 94599143042, password: 9I353D)

Join by phone
(US) +1 312-626-6799

Join using SIP
94599143042@zoomcrc.com (passcode: 204952)

Joining instructions
Password: 9I353D

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New MFMA Zoom Open Forum Dates

Now that market season is in full-swing, the MFMA Weekly Thursday Open Forums will be changing to every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month at 1:00pm. There will not be a meeting this Thursday, July 9th. The next Zoom Open Forum will be Monday, July 20th at 1:00 pm. Mark your calendar for the following dates and join us for an open discussion on all issues related to Minnesota Farmers’ Markets.

  • July 20     1:00 pm
  • Aug. 3      1:00 pm
  • Aug. 17    1:00 pm
  • Sept. 7     1:00 pm
  • Sept. 21   1:00 pm

ZOOM INVITE: Every 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month– 1:00 PM (CST)

https://zoom.us/j/115650186   Meeting ID: 115 650 186

 (312) 626 6799 US (Chicago)

CFP COVID-19 Preparedness Plan Overview

Hello! Tomorrow morning there will be a webinar discussing the COVID preparedness plan that all businesses have been asked to have by the Governor. If you would like to attend please join us.

UPDATED – COVID-19 Preparedness Plan

When:
Wed Jul 8, 2020 9am – 10am Central Time – Chicago

Joining info
Join Zoom Meeting
umn.zoom.us/j/95280743148?pwd=eF… (ID: 95280743148, password: j512bT)

Join by phone
(US) +1 646-558-8656

Join using SIP
95280743148@zoomcrc.com (passcode: 438420)

Joining instructions
Password: j512bT

Happy Anniversary To Us!

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Wow! It’s been five years since the bill was passed and went in effect on July 1st, 2015! It’s really hard to believe how far we have come. Even harder to believe that this all began nearly 11 years ago. A lot of you may not know this but by the time the bill came to be voted on in 2015, a very small group of us had already been working to get this bill passed for over 6 years.

It all began when I had the great idea of renting a small shop where I had planned to sell items already baked in my kitchen. I’d thought that this would be a great way to get my baking known and make some money in order to expand. It would also help to see what interest there might be in the area before I invested more money into a real bakery.

So, armed with this wonderful idea I started checking into exactly what I would need to do this. Lo and behold, I found out that not only could this grand idea never be, but that even selling my baked goods from home at all was illegal. I did not know this, nor would I have even ever thought of it!

I’m not too proud to admit that I was crushed and I called my husband and yes, there were some tears. I said, “Honey I can’t bake my cakes anymore!” and he said, “Well, you aren’t going to want to hear this but if you don’t like the law you have to change it.” And so, I who had never been particularly interested in politics of any kind, set out to do just that.

I started doing lots of research into how people legally sell baked goods from their homes in other states. At that time only 25 states even had a cottage food law. (Now every state has one except New Jersey.) I discovered that the Cottage Food Law had been amended and passed in Michigan just a few months before I started my quest, which gave me a perfect starting point on how to proceed.

Then I found out that a lady by the name of Christy Stefanick had already gotten things rolling in Minnesota by creating the first petition and Facebook page to generate awareness of the fact that selling baked goods from your home was illegal in our state. I took over managing these two things for her not long after. Together with my friends Joleen, Amanda, and Marianne we continued to fight the battle. A lot of people did not even know such a law as the “cottage food law” existed or that it needed to be amended.

I spoke to my district Representative Jim Newberger about amending the bill and he immediately went to work on it. Our group sent 100’s of letters, spent hours on the telephone talking to states reps, people like Denay Davis who had already passed this law in two other states and the Harvard Legal Food Division. We reached out to the local newspapers, and even tried to get the television news channels involved. We did hours of research comparing the different state laws and how we could best implement them here. A friend of mine created a logo for us and we made up flyers to hand out at the fairs and other local events. We tried to get others in Minnesota involved. We set up centralized meetings inviting everyone interested in amending the cottage food law to attend. We sent out a survey asking the people of Minnesota to respond with their suggestions, ideas and how they could assist with this quest and that is when Karen Peterson and Jennifer Carriveau joined our little group.

In 2015 we had finally got to the place where things were lining up. Kathy Zeman from the Minnesota Farmers Market Association had begun working with us, all of the Departments such as the MN Dept. of Agriculture, the MN Dept. of Health and the MN Food Association, were on board and we had bipartisan support in Representative Newberger and Senator Dibble. Finally, it looked like we were getting somewhere. We had to make a few concessions but we decided it was a good beginning.

The decision was made but the battle wasn’t over yet. We still had to get it through two committees in both the House and Senate. I don’t remember who all attended these meetings but I know Kathy and Marianne were at every one of them, sitting for hours to testify on our behalf.  I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Some of the Representatives and Senators were just plain rude.  Believe me; Kathy and Marianne are saints for sitting through all of that. But finally, after one last hold your breath moment, Governor Dayton signed the bill and we were legally allowed to become home-based cottage food producers.

Guess what? That was just the beginning of a whole new adventure. Now the fun began as Ben Miller and his team at the MN Dept. of Agriculture rushed to set up a cottage foods website, registration processing and how to best implement the food safety regulations. Suzanne Driessen at the University of Minnesota Extension and her team had to set up a cottage foods website, food safety classes, and many other things they do for the cottage food industry. Kathy and her people at the Minnesota Farmers Market Association updated their website to add the cottage food laws, links and regulations to it. I continued to author the Facebook page, blog and twitter accounts in an effort to keep everyone updated on everything that goes on concerning Cottage Food Producers and answering questions. All of this had to be done before July 1st, 2015 and I think everyone did a really good job with the amount of time we had.

Throughout the past few years, we have continued to work to get the law amended, to make sure we can donate our products and to fix other small things that came up here and there, to continue the fight to become LLC’s and to increase our income.

It should also be noted that over the years everyone involved has come a long way. The MDA has a wonderful team that works hard for the cottage food producers. The U of M Extension has been amazing in educating us on food safety, holding classes and making it easier and easier to comply with registration regulations. The MFMA has done the same. I think they deserve a lot more credit than they receive. And of course we can never forget Karen and the other ladies who help answer and assist with questions on the MN Cottage Food Producers Group Chat.

The first year after the bill passed, we had about 500 registered Cottage Food Producers in Minnesota, today we have over 5000. On January 22nd, 2020 we established the Minnesota Cottage Food Producer’s Association. We are the only official Cottage Food Producer’s Association operating in the United States. If you would like to become a member of our association or just check out our new website and resources there, you can click the link here: mncfpa.org

It’s been so exciting to watch this industry become recognized and evolve all over the United States. We’ve accomplished a lot and we aren’t done yet. Stay tuned and watch our pages and websites. We have so many ideas in the works and we’re going to need everyone’s help!

Happy 5th Anniversary Everyone!

 

Updated Safe Food Sampling

Thank you to the MFMA for supplying this updated information for safe food sampling in the farmer’s markets.

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As always the MFMA has an open forum for any questions at 1:00 pm every Thursday.

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Important COVID-19 Updates ~ June 17, 2020

We have been asked to share the following updates with all of our Cottage Food Producers.

All farmers’ markets, farmers, & food makers need to have a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan on file by June 29, 2020. Concerning our CFP’s, I think this is mostly relevant for those of you who are market vendors. However, all Cottage Food Producers probably should fill this out to the best of your ability and keep it on hand as you are food makers.

Farmers’ markets, farmers, and food makers were designated critical businesses under Executive Order 20-48 in April of 2020. By June 29, 2020, all critical sector businesses, including all farmers’ markets, farmers, and food makers, are required to develop and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan which complies with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) COVID-19 guidelines and OSHA standards. You do NOT have to send your plan to anyone, you just need to keep it on file and follow it.

The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) has created a preparedness plan template which includes all required plan components and is available in Hmong, Somali, and Spanish.

  • COVID-19 Preparedness Plan template and instructions (updated June 15, 2020) – Word document | PDF
  •  Translated versions of Word document (updated May 30, 2020) – Hmong | Somali | Spanish

A Stay Safe Minnesota website with additional information can be found here: Stay Safe Plan for safely reopening Minnesota

Don’t forget the MFMA Zoom call tomorrow. I’m sure this will be part of that discussion.
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May 27th, 2020 ~ A Few Updates

Good morning everyone! I wanted to share a few things with you. First of all, as you know the last legislative session ended pretty crazy. Our chief supporters Sen. Andrew Mathews and Rep. Todd Lippert tried really hard to get our bills heard but unfortunately, due to the demands that were put upon them because of the coronavirus, and several delays by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, our bills were tabled. We will try again next year. I have no doubt that we can achieve our goals if we persevere. But ead1b9ee9d475281087783da5168884fwe need your help. We can’t do this alone. Reach out to your legislatures and tell them how important being a Cottage Food Producer is to you and your household. So many of us were able to not only continue to help support our families during this difficult time, but have been a major help to our communities. Don’t just send one letter, keep sending updates. Unless we make our voices loud enough, we will not be heard. The Cottage Food Industry is growing every day and we are here to stay.

I want to take a minute to welcome all of the new members who have become a part of the Minnesota Cottage Food Producers Association. We’re looking forward to doing some exciting things in the future. If you would like to become a member of the MNCFPA just click on our website: mncfpa.org

The University of Minnesota Extension has published their most recent Cottage Food Connection newsletter. It’s was very nice of them to highlight our new association and cottage-food-email-headerwebsite. There is also some great tips for food safety and it was super exciting to see that one of our MNCFPA board members was in the Producers Spotlight. If you would like to subscribe to receive your own newsletter just click this link: Cottage Food Connection or I have scanned it for you to read here. CF Connections

Last but not least I want to remind you that the Minnesota Farmer’s Market Association is holding a weekly Zoom session every Thursday to discuss everything related to the Farmer’s Markets. There are a few clarifications to some questions regarding the coronavirus that have been updated below. Have a great week!

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North Dakota Update

Good morning! I want to share with you a letter from David Crabill with an update about the North Dakota cottage food producers. Sending positive vibes to our North Dakota friends!us-north-dakota-flag-clip-art-43095

“I wanted to tell you about what’s currently happening in North Dakota. You might remember the North Dakota fiasco from one of my previous emails.

Basically, at the beginning of this year, the ND health department gutted their state’s 2017 food freedom law without the legislature’s approval.

Now, five bakers in North Dakota, with help from the Institute for Justice, are suing their state to bring their law back.

Although this process started two month ago, the Institute for Justice decided to delay the case to allow the health department to focus on addressing the coronavirus.

But now they’re pushing forward again, and as a result, many news articles have picked up the story in the past couple of weeks. Here’s a great Forbes article about the lawsuit.

Erica Smith from the Institute for Justice talked about this case a few weeks ago in podcast episode #6, and she had some not-so-nice things to say about ND’s health department.

The overall impression I got from Erica was along the lines of “they’re going down!” I really think she and the Institute for Justice are not going to let up on this until they get their law back.

Read about the North Dakota lawsuit”