Friday, August 6, 2010

Take The Lemonade Stand

I think we all need to take a lemonade stand. That is, take a stand in favor of children being encouraged and allowed to stretch their entrepreneurial spirits and flex their ingenuity muscles. The other day, I mentioned that there is something wrong with the concept of "freedom" in our country when Big Ag is allowed to douse thousands of acres with harmful, dangerous, toxic pesticides and herbicides, but a child is criminalized for selling fresh goods at a roadside stand.

Today, a story about a young girl and her Portland, Oregon lemonade stand illustrates my point exactly. There is a monthly neighborhood event called Last Thursday, and a mom took her 7-year-old daughter to set up a lemonade stand at the event. The little girl had been inspired by Olivia (the cartoon pig) to have a lemonade stand. Her mother, doing what a good mom would do (in my opinion), supported the desire and helped the lemonade stand idea become a reality. They hadn't been there long when health inspectors came along and told them they would have to pack up because they did not have a "temporary restaurant license."

The cost of a temporary restaurant license? $120.00. The story does not say, but I happen to know that, in addition, the girl would need a food handler's permit in the state of Oregon to work around food and beverages. They are much less expensive, at about $15.00, but the point is that this is A LITTLE GIRL SELLING LEMONADE!!!

So, now the food-borne illness patrol and the temporary business license revenue patrol are on the loose and not even children are safe from their bean counting bureaucracy. Isn't Oregon supposed to be the fiercely independent, Pioneering, Free To Be Me state? Sure, I understand that houses and kitchens can be unclean, and that poorly washed utensils and pitchers could carry a potential safety risk, but this girl used KOOL-AID packets and water, and made them on-site at the stand. She used an ice scoop and hand sanitizer, and kept all items covered when not in use.

How much more of our freedom are we willing to give away to our government? City, County, State, and Federal governments have us so regulated that we cannot even have our children run a lemonade stand??? Children used to be able to take initiative and make their own spending money. They mowed lawns, raked leaves, washed windows, toted trash, sold lemonade, and even hosted (gasp!) bake sales. On their lawns, on the sidewalk, and door to door. They sold items NOT MADE IN COMMERCIAL KITCHENS to people who were smart enough to make their own decisions about the safety of what they put into their bodies.

Now there are child labor laws and liability issues and social security numbers and paper work and all manner of roadblocks for children. There are no more children with paper routes. No more children out doing hard work in the summer to earn their fun. Now they have been reduced to cell phone carrying, self-entitled zombies because the bureaucrats won't let them work. Perhaps the tax man will be knocking on this little girl's door next year, asking for the 1099 filing for the lemonade money she made this year. I don't remember voting for these regulations. Do you?

In this flagging economy, children (and adults!) should be allowed and encouraged to follow the American dream, to further the laissez-faire economy on which we are supposed to be based. Our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness mandates that we sell handicrafts, lemonade, baked goods, fresh farm goods, or whatever else we can muster, and that we be allowed to follow our own paths to self-employment without the burden of state intervention and over-taxation, excessive fees, or stifling regulations.

Children have been selling lemonade for at least 100 years, and I have never heard of a food-borne illness outbreak from one single child's lemonade stand. I have however, heard of several that originated directly from the highly regulated, ultra "safe" industrial food chain. So, is it about safety, or is it about revenue? If it were about safety, those health inspectors would have applauded a 7-year-old girl for covering the ice, using an ice scoop, and remembering to sanitize her hands between customers. When will cooler heads prevail? When will the will of the people again prevail?

Are you a Food Revolutionary yet?
Then take a lemonade stand, and set up
your neighborhood children with their own
business TODAY.

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2 comments:

redkathy said...

I couldn't agree with you more. What a shameful display, I was outraged at this!

ChickiePea said...

This is not the first instance of this. I have read several stories through the years of children getting fines, etc. for lemonade stands. Breaking zoning laws, not having a license, etc etc.

Michael Pollen says to hell with the big ag laws about food and if you bake something, break the law and sell it to your neighbors. If we don't fight for our food, then no one will. Strength in numbers- because we surely don't have strength in $$ the way the gov't does. (( Sigh.))