Cookies that Make Ripples
A Cookie-Monsterpreneur’s Tale
A rainy day is the perfect day to write my first post on a blog called Ripples. The little raindrops out my window making ripples in the pavement puddles are cheering me on like a stand filled with thousands of fans – listen to that roar!
It’s good they are, because I’m afraid. Even though some call me the cookie-monster due to my adoration of cookies, I’m still afraid of the other monsters – the laws, math, and risk involved in starting one’s own cookie business. Like the boogeyman, many of these monsters are invented.
With nightmares like an 88-yr-old woman being arrested for taking a homemade pie to a church fish fry, why would I aspire to riddle my nervous system with the fear of lawsuits and fines for “illegal” baked goods? It’s mostly because the World Wildlife Fund has lived in my recycling bin for too long. Every month I receive requests from truly awesome organizations – Sierra Club, Amnesty International, the Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation, among others – hoping that I will give them money I don’t have. We’ve been receiving below-the-poverty-level monthly stipends while serving 2 years in AmeriCorps*VISTA. That doesn’t leave much money for protecting Bambi’s woodland forest or cleaning our air. If I took the bake sale to another level, these organizations could come out of my recycling bin and into my check book.
Going Off-Grid with some Dough
Another reason I’m willing to risk it and become a social entrepreneur: I want some nature. Not only do I want to live the reality version of the Disney-inspired nature fantasy running through my head, I’d like some nature for the next 7 generations, too. Ryan & I dream of living off-grid in a sustainable home while protecting acres of wildlife habitat nearby. We could spend our days ripping out invasive honeysuckle and aiding endangered songbird populations, if only we had the cash.
So how much substance do my fears about legal issues contain? Almost zero, amazingly. The Arkansas Cottage Food Act of 2011 clearly states that as long as I comply with regulations, my homemade cookies are exempt from the monsters. For those aspiring entrepreneurs reading this, included in this exemption are products such as vegetables, baked goods, and jams (read the full text for more examples). You can produce these products without needing a permit or license, or having your home kitchen inspected – as long as you label your products as follows:
- Product Name & Ingredients
- Your Name & Address
- “Home Produced” in 10-point type
- Make no nutrition claims.
I can now say, without a ripple of a doubt, that my cookies are 100% legal in the state of Arkansas.
Now it’s time to make some ripples with my oven mitt! You can make some ripples too and order your cookies here.