Creativity, entrepreneurship alive and well

Monday, August 20, 2018

Weíve noticed several social media postings decrying the lack of emphasis on hands-on skills like woodworking and mechanics in modern schools.

While itís true vocational classes have suffered cuts in some schools, hands-on creativity is thriving more than ever, thanks in part to opportunities offered by that same social media.

Search YouTube and youíll find how-to instructions for virtually any activity. Some are more reliable than others, of course, and you certainly canít believe everything you see on the internet, but exercise a little common sense and youíre on your way to creating that craft or repairing that appliance.

Thereís a Pinterest group for a wide variety of subjects and you can share your skills on sites like Instructables.

Narrow your interests further, and youíll likely find an online community dedicated to that specific creative activity.

Networking and knowledge, plus widespread availability of items like the Raspberry Pi computer and 3D printer offer personal creative capabilities the 1950s shop student couldnít imagine.

Not many of us are Steves like Jobs or Wozniak, of course, but that personal creativity can easily result in extra income.

If you havenít visited this yearís farmers market in Westview Plaza on Saturday mornings, you should.

There youíll find a wide variety of home enterprises represented in addition to the traditional excess garden produce and baked goods. A recent visit discovered locally grown organic microgreens, specialty seasoning packets, locally grown honey, homemade dog treats, tie-dyed shirts, and many others.

As Riley Herchenbach of the Platte Institute noted in a recent op-ed, Nebraska could do more to encourage such cottage industries.

Some, he said, may not realize they are actually breaking the law. Food must be sold with a clearly displayed sign notifying customers that it was prepared in a kitchen not subject to regulation and inspection by regulatory authorities, and can only be sold at a farmers market.

Failure to do so, Herchenbach said, could actually be a Class IV misdemeanor with a fine of $100 to $500.

That puts Nebraska at a disadvantage, according to Forrager.com, to neighboring states of Wyoming, Colorado, Iowa and Missouri, which allow cottage food sales by home-based producers. In addition, Wyoming, Colorado and South Dakota allow online advertising of sales of cottage foods for in-state purchases, which must be delivered in person.

Grocery and restaurant industry groups have successfully fought recent bills, in 2015 and 2018, to loosen restrictions, on the argument that food safety would be threatened.

We certainly donít want to return of the bad old days before the Food and Drug Administration worked to ensure Americans, but thereís no reason we should fear we are breaking the law by selling homemade foods and crafts to our friends and neighbors.

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