A nationwide movement to allow kids to sell lemonade at road side stands unimpeded by police or health officials has coalesced into Lemonade Freedom Day, which will be celebrated across America on August 20.
Infamous cases of excessive enforcement of public health codes and business regulations have hit the media in recent years, such as a report of a year ago where Philadelphia cops shut down a girl’s lemonade stand at a neighborhood farmer’s market. In addition, the Huffington Post reported in February that Georgia law enforcement closed down a group of Girl Scouts selling their iconic cookies because they didn’t have a permit.
Folks are fed up with government officials who lack common sense and risk traumatizing children in order to follow the letter of the law.
Graham businesswoman, Robbin Yount, is one of those people and she is organizing local support of Lemonade Freedom Day with a FaceBook campaign.
“You bet I’m promoting Lemonade Freedom Day,” she told the Mountain News. “It’s time to tell the government to ‘Back-Off!’”
Ms. Yount, who owns and operates a local print shop, said that children need to earn their own spending money and in doing so they will learn how to be resourceful and entrepreneurial.
“When I was growing up we were as broke as broke could be,” Ms. Yount said. “My mom was a single mother and she had five kids. We had a patch of ground where we grew daffodils, and we kids sold them at the corner of 116th and Steele to make spending money. We also sold pot holders made on a little hand loom, and we mowed lawns. We did whatever we could to earn some money.”
For those concerned about the proper implementation of public health regulations, Ms. Yount has the answer.
“If it’s a kid-run business and they’re making less than a hundred bucks, leave them alone. If they’re making more than a $1,000, then they’re a legitimate business and they need to follow the rules.
Ms. Yount is far from alone in her views.
Alex Hornaday, a lawyer in Denver, is offering his legal services for free to any kid who gets busted in the state of Colorado for selling lemonade at a neighborhood stand. In fact, Hornaday has developed a web site to tout his support for Lemonade Freedom Day, with bold headlines attacking government intrusion, such as: “Selling Lemonade is Not a Crime!”
Also on the web site are a dozen suggestions for dealing with police or health officials if your kid encounters official opposition.
As for “The Government,” spokesperson Bridget Vandeventer of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department offered the following commentary and health tips:
First, the T-PCHD considers lemonade stands legal, and does not regulate or offer permits to kids for youth-run concessions. However, Ms. Vandeventer said that a “sticking point” arises when a kid sets up shop just outside a fair or other large public gathering.
“There’s a conflict when the vendors inside the festival have obtained all their permits.”
Nevertheless, Vandeventer said that she thinks lemonade stands in their pure form are wonderful for children.
“If a kid sets up a lemonade stand on a card table at the end of their driveway – there’s no problem,” she said. “In fact, I think it’s a great idea. It teaches kids a lot about health, such as the necessity for washing their hands, and also they learn about business – making change and that kind of thing.”
Further, Vandeventer said that youth can take the Food Handler’s Permit course on line for free and take the test – there is no age limit – but if they pass they will have to pay to officially receive the permit.
“But younger kids will still learn a lot about proper procedures for handling food,” she said.
Along those lines, Ms. Vandeventer suggested that children use powdered mixes or other preparations such as frozen concoctions for their lemonade.
“With prepared mixes there is less hand contact, so it’s safer,” she said, adding that fresh-squeezed lemonade by children has a probability of contamination too high to be recommended.
Another tip for customers is to look for evidence of a responsible adult nearby, either standing within eye-view or noticing that the fingernails of the children are well-scrubbed.
Lastly, in an effort to support our children in their attempt to make a little moolah this summer, the Mountain News will have a lemonade stand at the Grazing in Graham festival this Saturday in Frontier Park.
Five cents a glass.
Addendum, Wednesday August 17, 2011
Oops, I seem to have run afoul of the T-PCHD. Ms. Vandevener has just sent me the following email, so as a result I will not be selling lemoande at Grazing in Graham this Saturday. However, I will be sitting at the Graham-Kapowsin Community Council booth as part of Grazing, and I will be happy to share my lemonade with anyone who is thirsty.
From Ms. Vandeventer:
…(I)n the last line of your article you said you’re planning on setting up a stand at Grazing in Graham. I’m not sure if that’s tongue in cheek or not, but I thought I should remind you that Grazing in Graham is an official event, and the coordinators and food vendors have all gone through the proper channels and obtained permits. Booths and stands at that event are different than the card table on the driveway stands that we’d talked about. I assume you know that, but just wanted to make sure.
© 2011 The Mountain News-WA
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