New Bill Proposal Could Help Indoor Farmers Markets In Oklahoma

Wednesday, February 26th 2020, 11:20 pm

The state legislature is considering a bill to make it easier for indoor farmer's market to sell some of their goods.

This comes after state officials told a Collinsville business it couldn't sell some items by other people.

When the owners of Farm Hippie learned they couldn't operate like they were planning, they chose to fight back. Now they've got some lawmakers fighting for them too.

Every section of their store features hand-made items from local vendors in Collinsville, and customers like Misty Frazier love it.

"It's nice to keep your money in the community," she said.

Ash Winfield and wife Carrie Beth store opened in August with an aim to be an indoor farmer's market.

In October, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture told them their store didn't fit the standards of a farmer's market because they were selling items that weren't produced in Health Department certified kitchens.

Instead, Farm Hippie had to operate as a retail store - meaning no more home-made foods.

"They said no, I'm sorry, that doesn't fit, it's not what the law says," Winfield said. "We lost a third of our vendor base."

So, Farm Hippie started a petition, and is now working to get the law changed.

Last week, 12 senators said yes to the bill at a Senate hearing, which would allow vendors to sell homemade food from non-certified kitchens as long as the vendors know who made the food.

The house is also considering a similar bill.

"We're grateful to have something that was a disappointment and turn it around to make something good for the state," Winfield said. 

Winfield asks for supporters to contact their state lawmakers to advocate for the Homemade Food act.

If it's passed, the new law would go into effect in November.

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