At-Large City Councilor Julia Mejia offered a proposal to the City Council during their Wednesday meeting to consider offering residential kitchen permits in the City of Boston.
A residential kitchen, also known as cottage food operations, is a kitchen located in a private home. There are two types of residential kitchen permits: retail and wholesale. Retail residential kitchen permits allow an individual to offer their services to be sold at farmer’s markets, online, or through the mail. Wholesale residential kitchen permits are for selling products to supermarkets and restaurants.
“Boston is a city filled with entrepreneurs whose only problem is they lack the financial support to build and expand their businesses. Entrepreneurs of color are finding it especially hard to open up businesses in the neighborhoods that have historically excluded them,” stated Councilor Mejia, pointing out that residential kitchen permits could serve as a food resource for neighborhoods that often lack access to nutritional and culturally-competent options.
During the ongoing pandemic, maintaining a physical location or acquiring a storefront for a business has become more difficult than ever.
Offering residential kitchen permits could be one option to allow entrepreneurs to thrive during these difficult times. Councilor Mejia also suggested offering in-home permits for other businesses such as salons, barber shops, and tailors.
At-Large Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George supported the proposal, but pointed out that public safety should be a priority if City officials were to begin offering such permits. She urged that the “appropriate red tape” be in place for these in-person operations to protect the entrepreneur and their fellow Bostonians.