Legislation to doing things legally but affordably

Discussion in 'General chat' started by sun burn, Nov 26, 2010.

  1. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,676
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Didn't know where else to put this so chat seemed like as good a place as any.

    I feel better doing things legally than illegally so i would like to start a discussion about getting changes made to legislation or ways of going about using existing legislation so that one can produce and sell food without having to pay numerous different government fees.

    People like us might like to sell some of out excess production or we might like to produce an excess to generate an income from our land and labour. But the legislation seems somewhat against small operators like me.

    For example i'd like to sell a few eggs. It would cost AUD $400 in the first year and $300 after that in government fees. Then there are probably other ongoing costs that one would have to bear simply because one is trying to do things the "proper" way. I don't want a lot of poultry. I just want a few. I don't want to produce eggs full-time. I'd just like to sell the excess. I'd also like to sell some fruit and vegetables from the roadside. I might even like to sell some jams or other prepared food from my produce. The more diverse your operation, the more the fees add up and if they are in the beginning, they pretty soon amount to a lot of money that makes selling anything legally unviable. And this is just money to the government.

    Wouldn't it be helpful to be able to have a single reasonable fee that covers all these activities. wouldn't it be more fair. Wouldn't it be a greater contribution to society at large.

    How can one go about getting this sort of thing into legislation so that people like us can compete in the market place.

    Does anyone know of any of the other fees that one must pay in order to produce and sell one's produce? Are there other major hoops to leap through.

    What does it cost to be accredited organic? Do you think its even worth it. I for one don't.
     
  2. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    2,721
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    I can't comment on the specific legalities because it's different here. While I do agree the legislation needs to change I think for those of us who don't want to put our energies there there are different options. Trade with people you know. Form a group that buys 'shares' in the chooks, that way they don't have to 'buy' eggs because they already own some (this is being done already in Oz I think with herd shares so people can access raw milk). Have 'private' markets (does your legislation prevent from selling to the public, what about privately?). Sell something easy at the farmer's market that doesn't require licencing or big fees, and use this as a way of letting people know you have other produce for barter at another time and place. Sell the jars of jam but make the jam free (you fancy up the jar so it's a novelty item that people are buying).

    There's lots of ways, all legal in technical terms but you still need to be a bit canny and use discretion. They're not ways to make a living but they can work for people with excess produce.
     
  3. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,676
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks pebbles but i am not really interested in alternative ideas. I probably can sell to people i know but i would like to do it without worrying that someone is going to catch me. I heard that people sell eggs at the market but to those who know - its sort of under the table. I couldn't do this sort of thing.

    I would barter but only for things that i seriously need. But what i need is cash and I would like to be able to take it from my produce when i have excess. I am really looking for ideas about how to approach the government and authorities.

    I supposed I could write letters and such.

    But i am also interested in forming some sort of lobby group so that we can all address authorities together. Not that i have much time to devote to political action but for a start I wonder if other people are interested in seeing the rules and expenses mainly could be changed.

    My whole anger at the moment about this started because someone else at hte markets can't sell me sticky rice sweets anymore. They have to get a license and i dont' know how much that would cost but I expect there's a lot of hurdles to jump through and unreasonable expense.

    I'd prefer to convert my excess to cash because I need to build a house and so i need the stuff that money buys. I can save some of my cash by growing my own food of course. But there are also costs in growing your own food and at hte moment i am in the spending stage. You know i have to lay out next year for irrigation so... you see where I am coming from. I am not really bothered about operating outside of society. I am not an anarchist.

    Its just frustrating that i can't sell my eggs. and do a mishmash of incoming earning activities because of the accumulated expense of all the permits and fees. Not that everything requires a permit or fee.
     
  4. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    Messages:
    5,925
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Have you checked out whether your area has a LETS economy? You can buy, sell, and trade without restriction because no money changes hands. Perfectly legal. You may not be able to pay your rates that way but you could get a haircut, a plumber and some sugar cane mulch!
     
  5. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Messages:
    2,457
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Farm manager/ educator
    Location:
    Hunter Valley New South Wales
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    warm temperate - some frost - changing every year
    I think the energy it would take to change legislation - with powerful lobby groups opposing - would be unsustainable. Better to work with the law of commonsense, look at the reason for the legislation and work with the reason. For instance, eggs need care to ensure hygienic distribution so ensure your eggs are fresh and hygienic then "break the law" so the speak. Road side stalls need proper access to avoid traffic hazards and such and administering them can be a drain on local government. So ensure that people can park safely and "break the law".
    Two ways you will be picked up for these things is if someone is affected and or someone complains. Give no reason for complaint and the only thing you will need to be concerned about is some one with an interest in shutting you down.
     
  6. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    2,721
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    Really? I must have misunderstood this sentence then: "or ways of going about using existing legislation so that one can produce and sell food without having to pay numerous different government fees." ;-)

    I wasn't suggesting selling under the table at all. As I said, my suggestions are technically legal (selling under the table isn't which is why I didn't suggest it). There are ways to use existing legislation, lots of people already doing it.

    "But what i need is cash" Sorry, I hadn't picked that up from the first post (I thought you were looking at being part of the local economy). That's a different issue. What're wanting is to do something in the mainstream economy but by getting the mainstream rules changed. That's a big job. I've done a lot of lobbying in the past, and all I can say is that you need to be prepared for the long haul and to have good relationships within the lobby group. There are quite specific skills needed in dealing with bureaucracy, so make sure the group has the range of those.

    As far as building a house goes, personally I think you'd be better off getting a job that can give you cash if you want to go down the conventional route. The time and energy put into lobbying never really repays itself at a personal level.

    Or look at selling things that are easy. You know that permaculture thing about working with what is and making the situation work for you?
     
  7. aroideana

    aroideana Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2008
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    legally and affordable !! impossible an oxymoron , like military intelligence ..
    fighting for peace is like fu#*ing for virginity,,
     
  8. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,676
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I know you are all making sense.

    With regard to building my house, i believe (at this stage) i can manage to do it slowly in sections, room by room over time. A room a year say? But maybe that's even too ambitious on my current income. The more work i can do myself, the less up front cash i need but I still need cash. Luckily here there is no urgency for bathroom and kitchen facilities. I do fairly urgently need a bedroom though.

    I do have an idea for making cash that doesn't require a permit or getting a job but of course there is still lots of work to be done. Just as well I enjoy the process of my life nowadays and am fine on the path to achieving my goals. No need to rush and strain to reach the end of the goal.

    But that aside, just think of the difference it could make to the economy and society at large if there could be legislative change enabling people to produce and sell food on farms as they existed in the past when farms were smaller and people produced a diversity of produce. There are so many people living this way ( producing not selling I mean) and it might be a way to increase the number of small concerns again. Perhaps that is fanciful. Perhaps there are good reasons why things have gone the way they have gone. But you know some experts often talk about all the good arable land that cities are built upon and wouldn't it make sense to turn that arable land back into food production. Can there be any other way to make that possible and likely than by getting legislative change?

    Perhaps I should talk to the Greens. I probably need to arm myself up with information and arguements to start with. Does anyone want to help, ie by contributing ideas, knowledge (about costs and hurdles eg such as i mentioned about hte cost of accreditation and permits for selling eggs). If you do it here - i mean just note down what you know so it will save me hours of research, I can prepare an informed letter/argument to present to someone in the greens and go from there. Of course like anything, it may all go nowwhere, i may be persuaded its not worth the effort after making some attempt. But wouldn't it be worth a try to get people onside to support such a notion. Perhaps it would take some action before people decide to get on board. But its worth a start I think. Even from the simple perspective of what it costs to be able to sell eggs alone.


    Left of field...
    A friend told me the other day about a guy growing bananas and permaculture in Cape Trib. The ABC filmed it when the government came in and tried to catch all his chickens that were running wild around the place. Apart from the likelihood that the chickens may have attracted more snakes to the farm, how ridiculous to stop such a thing. I wish i'd seen it. Apparently the authorities would catch a hen and throw it in the van and two others that had been caught would jump out. Anyway i think in the end they won and shut this man down or at least his permie chickens which i think sounded great.
     
  9. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    2,721
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    That's so great you can work on your house yourself.

    I think some of those examples we hear about bear a closer look. There's usually more to the story than the media is portraying. I'm not saying that there isn't an issue, just that if the law says something then officials do have an obligation to follow through even if the law is stupid. This is particularly true if someone makes a complaint. I said this in the other thread - there are too many people now who want to make money and don't have the skils and knowledge on how to prepare food safely. I'd buy food from a home kitchen from a small market where the person lived locally. I'd probably be less keen in a big market where I don't know the producer. Things have changed, and yes the laws could have handled this differently, but honestly there are people who don't have the skills now and that's part of why the new laws have come in.


    re the law changing, you could use NZ as an example. We've lost some ground (grannies can't sell their jams at the local church fair without a licenced kitchen kind of thing). But you can still sell eggs, and sell produce (not meat but raw milk is ok) from the gate etc.
     
  10. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,676
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    wow you've got it good if people can do that. Here on the other hand you dont' need a license to make jam. Its considered a low risk food while eggs are high risk.

    But after posting last time, i thought perhaps all these health problems are the direct result of bigger farms. If this is the case (though it may be different for milk and TB) then the legislation should only apply to farms bigger than a certain size. Anyway i thought it was worth looking in to. Yesterday i found a link that wrote up the history of food poisoning from eggs. It seems that its become a big problem since the early 70s. And before that salmonella wasn't much of a problem and was localised to a certain area of the united states. Because the "authorities" handled it badly, it spread and now we all suffer. I do wonder though how the problem got to australia. This is not the problem of salmonella getting onto eggs but getting into the eggs from when the egg is still in the chicken.

    Now see if you can sell eggs and raw milk from the gate in NZ that suggests that there haven't been health issues and that the authorities are overreacting here. Doesn't it. Just like they do here with the cheese story.

    There has to be an argument in here with all these examples where places allow this sort of way of production to go ahead and with no negative health effects. It sort of suggests that all the problems are with the big producers so why make us pay.
     
  11. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    2,721
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    You don't need a licence to make jam here, but any processed food for sale has to be made in a certified kitchen. People here are using kitchens in community halls, marae, etc which they can rent cheaply.

    I agree about the big farms issue. I wouldn't buy raw milk from a big commerical producer and I don't think it should be legal to sell raw milk on a large scale. There are serious health issues involved with raw milk and I want to buy from people I know and trust. At the moment you can sell 8L per day per person from the gate. It's illegal to transport it. I think they should allow it to be transported (it makes more sense to transport the milk than all the people), but it should only be sold to people who are informed of the health issues.

    Check out the the cottage food bills going through the US at the moment. There's a big movement there to get very small producers legal to sell some low risk processed foods as long as they are labeled made in a home kitchen (or something like that).
     
  12. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,676
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    That sounds good, although sticky rice would not be considered low risk.

    I guess not allowing the milk to be transported is one way of limiting sales which is probably a major intent on the restriction. But i agree. "people who are informed of hte health issues" It would make sense to include that information at hte point of sale. And easy enough to do really.

    Market food manufacturers can make their goods in their homes though have to have their kitchens inspected. I guess if their kitchen was deemed too old fashioned they'd have to find another. (note old-fashioned is me being cynical just).
     
  13. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    2,721
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    So they don't have to use a certified kitchen? or are they getting their home kitchens certified (which I think you can do here).
     
  14. DonHansford

    DonHansford Junior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Messages:
    207
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Just a thought, though it may not suit sun burns "non-anarchist" attitude.
    Takes a bit of organising, but you would need a group of people all willing to fight for the ideals we are discussing here.
    Their products / preparation areas need to be absolutely within all authority guidelines, local laws, etc.
    Set up stalls without the appropriate licences, and, when the inspector gives you a ticket for not operating legally, opt to have the matter heard in court (all of you).
    Do the media thing, inviting all forms of media to view your premises and production systems (with a copy of the rules and regs on hand). Try to get the local MP to attend with the media present, explaining to him/her exactly what you have espoused here.
    All of you appear in court on the appointed day, (representing yourselves, no lawyers fees) and plead Not Guilty. Be calm and polite in the court, and loud and clear outside it. If found guilty of selling without a licence, tell the judge (politely) that you are going to appeal the decision, and lodge notice with the Clerk of the Court that you are doing so.
    With enough media attention, and the prospect of large legal fees down the track, most Councils will cave in and look at easing some bylaws.

    Or, you could prepare your argument, and call your local council to schedule an agenda item for their next meeting. You then turn up at the meeting, present your argument, and see how it goes. If you fail, look at option one, above.
     
  15. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    2,721
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Location:
    inland Otago, NZ
    Climate:
    Inland maritime/hot/dry/frosty
    Excellent ideas Don.
     
  16. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,676
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    If you go through with that idea Don, and end up in court, wouldn't you have to have lawyers to represent you.

    Pebble, i don't the kitchens need to be certified. I am not sure exactly of the rules here but i know they need to be inspected by a council person before one can start selling such produce at hte markets. I guess its similar but i think the word certified might be necessary for more high risk types of food preparations. When you have to apply for a license is when you need to get your kitchen certified. I roughly think its like that but I am not certain. I had a look at some council regulations teh other day but i can't remember the details exactly.
     
  17. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2010
    Messages:
    1,016
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Forming a coop sharing the expense opening a sterile kitchen and creating a label for your product.Get local government funding make it part of a community garden.
     
  18. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    Messages:
    2,215
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    36
    You can also look into 'hiring' some time in a approved commercial kitchen - not all kitchens are in use all the time and I'm sure some would welcome the cost sharing.
     
  19. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Messages:
    2,457
    Likes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    Farm manager/ educator
    Location:
    Hunter Valley New South Wales
    Home Page:
    Climate:
    warm temperate - some frost - changing every year
    It is true Grahame - the local cafe in the organic shop is approved and you can use it after hours for that type of thing. A word with the person in charge of such a kitchen may be fruitful.
     
  20. DonHansford

    DonHansford Junior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2009
    Messages:
    207
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    In a word - no. You don't "need" a lawyer for anything in court. (Of course, if it was a murder charge or something, you'd be mad not to have one). The magistrate is required to explain any required procedures to you, and most of them will make sure you don't stuff up too bad :)

    I haven't paid a traffic or parking fine in years - always take it to court, and (so far) always get off.
     

Share This Page

-->