koehler veg 042621SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) passed two measures out of the Illinois Senate that would help protect and promote people’s right to grow and produce their own food.

Senate Bill 170 specifies that cities and municipalities cannot prohibit residents from growing vegetable gardens solely on the basis that they are vegetable gardens.

“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are looking to become more self-sufficient and exploring new hobbies,” Koehler said. “This legislation would protect the rights of people who want to grow their own food to feed themselves and their families.”

Towns, cities, and villages would still be able to regulate gardens and garden structures based on zoning and building code ordinances. However, they simply cannot single out vegetable gardens and related structures when passing regulations.

The other piece of legislation, Senate Bill 2007, permits cottage food operations to sell their products at farmers’ markets, fairs, festivals or public events, and additionally allows online sales. A cottage food operation is a vendor that prepares products in a home kitchen rather than a commercial kitchen. The legislation would require vendors to submit recipes or food safety plans to local public health departments to be allowed to sell their products.

“Especially in light of the financial hardships many families have faced because of the pandemic, we should be doing everything we can to help create more income opportunities,” Koehler said. “This legislation has the potential to benefit many families in the area and around the state.”

The proposal builds on the original cottage foods law passed by Koehler in 2012.

Both measures now go to the House for further consideration.