Community-Owned Food System

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= also called a "Community-Serving Food Systems" in the discussion below:



"The Sustainable Economies Law Center proposes a regulatory scheme that promotes food safety and economic opportunity for home cooks while ensuring community ownership of our food economy — not more absentee shareholder controlled economic development.

Certified Farmers' Markets in California: A Model for Community-Serving Food Systems:

The policy proposal below was inspired in part by the recent flourishing of farmers' markets. In California, farmers' markets are regulated to ensure food safety and to ensure transparent and direct, farmer-to-consumer transactions. Among numerous rules, a certified farmers' market may only be operated by farmers, by a nonprofit organization, or by a local government agency. In other words, the central organization or enterprise that manages a certified farmers' market must be a government agency, a nonprofit, a farmer, or a group of farmers. No other entities are allowed to operate a certified farmers' market in California.

A Policy Proposal For Legalizing Sales of Homemade Food in California: Without altering the regulatory framework already established by the California Homemade Food Act for "cottage food" enterprises, the state Health and Safety Code could additionally allow homemade food to be offered for sale under a separate but similar regulatory framework designed for sales of hot meals and other more perishable foods. Like under the existing law, environmental health departments would provide permits to home cooks that would ensure any cook has undergone robust, safe food handling training and that their home kitchen is maintained in a sanitary condition. Kitchen inspections would be conducted once per year, or as needed, at the discretion of local environmental health departments.

Selling through web platforms: If a home cook sells meals through a third-party web platform that is designed specifically for selling food, it must be one that is permitted and structured as follows:

  • Worker cooperative
  • Consumer cooperative
  • Nonprofit mutual benefit corporation
  • Nonprofit public benefit corporation

Regular shareholder-owned corporations would not be permitted to operate web platforms dedicated to selling homemade food.

Why Limit the Ownership Structure of Web Platforms to Cooperatives, Nonprofits, and Government? In the tech economy, third party web intermediaries tend to hold a large amount of power over both workers and consumers, particularly because the dominant business model of tech companies is to raise a large amount of money that enable to company to grow rapidly and quickly control the lion’s share of their market. This keeps competition at bay and provides lucrative return to shareholders, if the enterprise is successful." (

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