Granholm celebrates passage of food entrepreneurship laws in Ypsilanti

food-law-3-thumb-597x459-46791Michigan Governor, Jennifer Granholm, seen here with Growing Hope executive director Amanda Edmonds and Representative Pam Byrnes, was in Ypsi today, celebrating the passage of two new laws having to do with food-related entrepreneurship. Here’s a clip from on what these new laws will allow:

…Previously, residents were required to make their foods in a Michigan Department of Agriculture-certified commercial kitchen – which can be expensive and hard to find – and pay a licensing fee. Granholm said the intent of the new law is to free Michigan’s cottage food industry from unnecessary regulation.

“This is a great way of eluding some bureaucracy and fostering some great, great entrepreneurs in the agricultural field,” Granholm said of the bills, one of which were introduced by Byrnes, D-Lyndon Township.

The law covers businesses that gross less than $15,000 annually. Among the foods included are those classified as “non-potentially hazardous foods,” meaning they aren’t temperature controlled for safety. The list includes certain baked goods, pies, cereal, candy, dry mixes, popcorn, coffee and other items….

The foods’ labels must make clear that the food was prepared in a home kitchen, not an MDA-certified commercial kitchen. The label must also list the ingredients in descending order by weight, allergen information, net weight and display the company’s name and address.

Once a business is making more than $15,000, it will be required to operate out of a commercial kitchen and seek proper licensing.

The bills passed the House and Senate unanimously, while a third covering syrups passed the Michigan House and is in the Senate…

This is good legislation, and all those involved deserve credit… And how cool is it that Granholm sought to speak about it at our beloved little farming-friendly non-profit Growing Hope? Speaking of which, if it’s not already on your calendar, Growing Hope will be holding their 4th annual biking tour of urban gardens, and sustainable food system features next Tuesday, July 20. This year’s event, called the Tour de Fresh, is co-sponsored by Bike Ypsi, Transition Town Ypsilanti, and Zingerman’s Community of Businesses. (And you don’t have to go by bike if you don’t want to. Some folks will be going by car.)

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  1. Kristin
    Posted July 13, 2010 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    It is very cool that Granholm did that with Growing Hope. That legislation is going to unleash some wonderful food in this state.

  2. Bob
    Posted July 13, 2010 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    It’s good legislation and we need more like it, but jeez…is this really Granholm’s legacy? Stupid initiatives like “cool cities” and laws allowing suburban hippies to market their kitchen sink salsa at the local farmers market. She has been such a milquetoast leader. Pretty much guaranteed us a return to Republican governorship.

  3. Edward
    Posted July 13, 2010 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Totally agreed, Bob. This is a god piece of legislation, but it certainly isn’t transformative in any significant way. And the legislation didn’t start with her. She merely jumped onboard and pushed something that had broad bipartisan support. Still, though, this is a good, small step in the right direction. Granholm has been a disappointment.

  4. Rex
    Posted July 13, 2010 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Look at her though, she’s gorgeous.

  5. West Cross
    Posted July 13, 2010 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    I assumed she headed over to Brandy’s afterwards to get a little something for the long ride home, right?

  6. Jules
    Posted July 13, 2010 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    I totally agree with Bob and Edward. I never had high hopes for her as I thought she sucked as AG. Even given the fact that she’s had such a horrible legislature to deal with, she’s been a terrible leader. I will never get over the fact that she did not fire Patricia Caruso for her incompetence as prison director and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, look at this.;contentBody

  7. Amanda
    Posted July 13, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    just to briefly defend this legislation– since i had something to do with it– it’s a small thing, but it actually is a big deal particularly for low-income rural and urban entrepreneurs. a lot of farmers who are struggling to not have to rely on off-farm income or get out of the farming world altogether do things like make pies/breads/jams/etc as a value added product that, should they have a bad crop or need extra income, can really boost their viability. many have been doing this for a long time illegally– i.e. not in a commercial kitchen– but with the growth of farmers’ markets i think there’s also been more attention on inspections and cracking down on non-licensed activities at markets. that might not be a bad thing in itself– but what this means is that now folks can do this legally. we’ve found in ypsi that a lot of lower-income or fixed-income or unemployed/underemployed folks want to enter the marketplace and make a fairly food-safe product to sell at the farmers’ market– but we’ve had to turn them away. this really does impact very real barriers to entry into our michigan agricultural & food economy– ag is actually the number 2 industry in michigan, and has been growing each year. if we want to talk green jobs and how people can develop livelihoods for themselves when jobs in their community aren’t available, this is a step towards that. i’ve seen that be the case first hand for a number of vendors after they’ve started selling at our market. so, i’d argue that it’s not at all about suburban hippies– this really is across the aisle (there were repub and democ co-sponsors, representing both rural & urban areas).

  8. Glen S.
    Posted July 13, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations, Amanda, for your role in fostering this legislation, and for all your hard work beginning and expanding Growing Hope, which — in addition to being a great project — has become a tremendous community asset for Ypsilanti!

  9. lorie thom
    Posted July 13, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    This is a fabulous bit of legislation and the result of some great work on the part of many especially Amanda. Thank you for this.

  10. Bob
    Posted July 13, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    No one is knocking sensible legislation that helps small business people, just Jennifer Granholm.

  11. Knox
    Posted July 13, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Where’s our train, Jennifer?

  12. Kit Errin
    Posted July 13, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    There’s a sliding scale donation of between $1 to $20 for Tour de Fresh participants, and there’s a dinner afterward at the Michigan Ave Growing Hope Center.

  13. Michael
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Whatever the fuck happened to Cool Cities? Am I living in one? Should I move to one? Will my bacne clear up if I do?

  14. Jules
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Sorry, didn’t mean to make you feel defensive, Amanda. I think it’s a very good bill and congratulations on the signing.

  15. Amanda
    Posted July 14, 2010 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    not offense taken at all, anyone– and i appreciate the kudos, all! just wanted to give folks a bit more explanation of the motivation for and potential impact of the law…

  16. Posted July 14, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    We’re asking that folks try to reserve their spot for Tour de Fresh by this Friday so we can plan accordingly… you can do so at– click on RSVP on the left side of the main page.

  17. Kim
    Posted July 16, 2010 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    The stops on the tour:

    The tour will visit the Thomason Family Farm, St. Joseph Health System’s new farm, EMU Giving Garden, Huron Valley Boys & Girls Club Garden, Midtown Community Garden, Ypsi Food Co-op (and their new bee alley!), and home examples of urban livestock & raised bed gardening.

  18. Mark H.
    Posted July 31, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    I helped organize a little workshop at EMU this week, for a group of just under 20 faculty from our campus and a few other Midwestern schools, and I want to share a comment from one of the evaluation of the workshop forms: “Food tasted delicious! Superb! Ypsi can evolve into a gourmet’s magnet!” We were a small enough group we could all eat in local restaurants, and we got great food and service, every where we went: Da Lat, Sidetrack (for lunch), Beezy’s, La Fiesta, the Tower, the Corner Brewery. Wonderful places, all.

    This comment isn’t directly about the great good work of Growing Hope, but it’s about food and local businesses, so it kind of seems to fit here.

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