The answer to this question really depends what type of food you have on offer, whether it is in raw form or processed, and where and under what circumstances you will be selling it.

Generally speaking, the sale of agricultural products in their raw and unprocessed form does not require any food safety permits or licenses, per se. However, the regulations of the Food Safety Modernization Act may apply, so we recommend exploring our pathway Do I have to comply with FSMA?

If you are altering products from their raw state, more permits and licenses start to kick in.

If you are processing food in your home, you may fall under the “Cottage Food Law” exceptions, which allow you to produce a limited range of foods in your home kitchen without full compliance with your state’s food code. Check out our free 18min. Podcast Episode Eight: Let’s Have Lunch! for a general understanding of cottage food laws. We recommend contacting your local Extension agent for the latest detailed information on your state’s cottage food laws as well as local administration of any permits necessary.

If your proposed operation doesn’t fit under your state’s cottage food exception, then you will likely need to comply with your state’s full food code rules, which include using a certified kitchen only, as well as following detailed rules about food preparation and storage. Get an idea of what is required in our Come and Get It guides, written specifically for Minnesota and Wisconsin, although they provide very useful information for farmers in every state as most states follow the same general framework. Both of these guides were created in partnership with Renewing the Countryside, the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (MISA), and ecopreneurs Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko.