Sherburne County Fair
This past weekend was the Sherburne County Fair. I volunteered to help out at the GOP booth mainly because both Senator Brown, and Representative Newberger, have been such staunch supporters of our Cottage Food Bill from the very beginning, and they still are. Although we firmly believe that amending this bill is something for all the people of Minnesota and has no reason to be a partisan thing, unfortunately it seems to have fallen into that, simply by the lack of support we’ve gotten from the Democratic party.
In 2013, Rep. Newberger managed to present our request for amending the Cottage Food Law to the House of Representatives for a vote. We lost by only 10 votes, almost completely divided along party lines. This year two prominent Democrats had promised their support, but when the Legislative session actually began, they brushed us off saying that they were “too busy” for us.
So once again we must set out to gain the support of our respective district representatives for the upcoming legislature in 2015. Everyone has to do their part, everyone has to take the time to find out who their representatives are, and everyone must present our cause. This is why I found myself at a political booth, passing out flyers to support our bill this past weekend.
It was actually kind of fun. I met a lot of people and found out, once again, that the majority of the people have no idea what the Cottage Food Law is or that it’s illegal to sell baked goods from home. Many people promised that they would go home and sign the petition.
One lady that I spoke to knew all about Minnesota’s Cottage Food Law, as she works with it at the Anoka County. I think that some of us have spoken to her in the past by telephone. She was very nice, but I am pretty sure we do not have her support. We discussed the fact that home-baked goods are sold at farmer’s markets, even though they are baked in the home kitchen and no license is required. She said that since the homemade label is on the item it’s a “buy at your own risk” thing. I told her about the Texas law where a person has to see the kitchen they are buying their homemade items from and she thought that was a good idea. We discussed the recent E Coli outbreaks at Applebee’s, which has apparently been traced to workers on farms who are not provided proper sanitation facilities. I then told her about the research finding that most food poisoning in the United States is from tainted food in grocery stores. She said this wasn’t true, but that it is because home owners who leave the food out too long and/or have dirty kitchens are the reason for the tainted food. Unfortunately she had to leave, but it would have been nice to chat with her some more.
However, I refuse to believe that the majority of people who get sick from food poisoning are because they are bad housekeepers. Something doesn’t add up there. I also still do not get the difference in the risk factor, depending on whether you buy your cookies from a farmer’s market, or my front door.
In the end I learned a lot of things I didn’t know, found out most Minnesotans are really nice whether they agree with you or not, and I think we earned some more signatures and awareness for our cause. It was a good day.