Local News

Opportunity Widens for Home Based Food Vendors

(Indianapolis, IN) - The door to opportunity has opened wider for many home-based makers of maple syrup, cookies, and other shelf-stable food products throughout Indiana.


On March 8, Governor Eric Holcomb signed legislation allowing such producers to sell their products to customers physically from their homes or anywhere else face to face.


Online sales of home-based food products were also made legal as long as delivery occurs within state boundaries. Previously, it was only permitted for home-based vendors to offer their food products at farmers' markets and roadside stands.


Home-based vendors are still prohibited from selling retail because the law's intent is more about helping people like single mothers supplement their incomes and providing a new income stream for struggling rural economies, said IFB Associate Director of Policy Engagement Jeff Cummins.


Producers selling food products like chicken, rabbit, and eggs raised on their property must still operate under another existing law.


Cummins said the previous restrictions became outdated when many home-based vendors knowingly or unknowingly broke the law by turning to online sales to make up for losses when farmer's markets in 2020 shut down early in the pandemic.


"We saw an avenue there that could bring these folks into the modern economy," Cummins said.

Doug Mark, who produces about 150 gallons of maple syrup from his 25 acres of woods near Lebanon, said the potential to make more money wouldn't be much for him and other vendors already selling online or meeting customers in places like homes, workplaces, and churches.


Mark said the monetary gains should be more noticeable for home-based vendors who never strayed outside the boundaries of the previous restrictions.


"They're going to be able to have a whole lot of avenues for sale they didn't have before," Mark said.

The real benefit for Mark and other former law-breaking producers is more psychological. The fear of likely slim odds for enforcement and a somewhat guilty conscience has been removed. According to Mark, it's one less thing for the small business owner to worry about in the future. 

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