WASHINGTON — Are you a farmer looking to increase income by adding products like pickles and jams or baked goods, produced in your home kitchen under your state’s cottage food law? Or maybe you already make some of these products and are looking for marketing advice and to connect with the collaborative community of cottage food entrepreneurs?
A silver lining of the pandemic has been the surge of home-based business start-ups, with more people than ever before selling cookies, breads, jams, candies and other food products under their state’s cottage food law. This collaborative community of food entrepreneurs are coming together at the first-ever Home-Based Food Entrepreneur Virtual National Conference on April 6 through 9, 2021, featuring an all-star lineup of cottage food leaders, operators, food activists and educators.
“Championing new food businesses and strengthening existing ones amplifies our local food economies and especially provides opportunities in our rural areas,” shares Jan Joannides, Executive Director of Renewing the Countryside, the non-profit organization hosting this virtual conference. The organization fosters sustainable, vibrant and equitable communities. “Whether you are a farmer already selling value-added products out of your home kitchen or just starting out, this gathering will provide the informational and inspirational boost to help diversify your farm income and learn from other cottage food entrepreneurs around the country.”
According to research of registered cottage food producers across the country by the Institute for Justice, these home-based food entrepreneurs skew female and value the flexibility and financial support offered by their businesses. They enjoy the opportunity their cottage food business gives them to be creative, while being their own boss. Given the current economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such needs are further exemplified. This conference provides both resources and tools to succeed, along with networking support.
“I’m really excited about this first Home-based Food Entrepreneur Virtual National Conference. What a great opportunity to share ideas, learn from others in the cottage food community,” said Sylvia Burgos-Toftness, owner of Bull Brook Keep Farm in Clear Lake, Wisconsin. “While our business is primarily grass-fed beef, baking and selling artisan breads help diversify our income mix and entice hungry visitors to our farm. There’s even the potential of adding the sale of buns to go with our ground beef for burgers.”
The conference keynotes will bring together, for the first time, the nation’s foremost leaders in expanding cottage food laws, harnessing the power of technology to foster business development, and providing insight into the future of the food freedom movement. Speakers include David Crabill, founder of Forrager.com, Alexia Kulwiec, Executive Director of the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, Erica Smith, lead attorney with the Institute for Justice, and Lisa Kivirist, co-author of Homemade for Sale.
A team of successful cottage food entrepreneurs and educators will lead workshops and live question and answer sessions covering a range of key topics, from marketing and product pricing to business structure and new product development. Various online meet-up sessions and message boards will enable attendees to both connect state-by-state as well as by topics, like utilizing local grains and creative marketing strategies during COVID-19.
To be as accessible to as many cottage food operators as possible, tickets are $20. Conference registration includes 16 sessions and various additional resources and opportunities to network and ask questions. All sessions during the actual event April 6 through 9, 2021 will be archived for registered attendees to view through July. See https://whova.com/web/wfts_
–Home-based Food Entrepreneur Virtual National Conference
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