blows lid off Vermont’s bake sale brownie ban -
Home  >  Vermont  > blows lid off Vermont’s bake sale brownie ban blows lid off Vermont’s bake sale brownie ban

By   /   September 19, 2014  /   News  /   No Comments

Part 21 of 107 in the series Nanny State of the Week

By Eric Boehm |

Brownies, cookies, cupcakes and other essential elements of any successful bake sale have been banned by new rules for food in Vermont public schools.

Shutterstock image

DELICIOUS AND ILLEGAL: Vermont’s ban on brownies and other bake sale goodies means school clubs and sports teams will have to find new, less delicious, ways to fundraise.

Thanks to rules that grew out of a 2010 state law, bake sales used as school fundraisers have to switch out the sweet treats and replace them with options like gluten-free, paleo lemon bars, kale and fruit.’s Bruce Parker, who is no stranger to exposing Vermont’s nanny state tendencies, exposed the state’s bake sale brownie ban last week in a story that you honestly have to read to believe.

The new school lunch pattern has low-fat, leaner proteins, greater variety and larger portions of fruit and vegetables; the grains have to be 100 percent whole grain rich,” said Laurie Colgan, the child nutrition program director at the appropriately-dystopian-sounding Agency of Education.

Colgan, who is probably one of the few people on the planet who would prefer a kale biscuit to a fudge brownie, had the chance to exempt fundraisers like bake sales from the new nutritional guidelines, but decided instead to wield her power to ban brownies and other sweet treats from “the whole school environment,” according to Parker’s story.

What are the unintended consequences of the brownie ban, one has to wonder?

Will there soon be an elaborate brownie bootlegging scheme running in Vermont schools, sneaking treats across the border from New York by crossing Lake Champlain under cover of darkness — or perhaps just sneaking them from the homes of parents who are sympathetic to the brownie bootleggers cause?

Will brownie gangs battle for control of the illicit bake sale trade, carving up the streets of Rutland like it was 1930s Chicago?

Shutterstock image

NOT THE CUPCAKES TOO: Yes, they banned the cupcakes too.

And what, exactly, is the exchange rate for an illegal brownie at a school lunch table (as anyone who has ever sat at a lunch table can tell you, these types of negotiations are tricky even when the brownies, fruit snacks and chips are all legal)?

Probably not. But Vermont might want to take a look at its southern neighbor to see what sorts of things do happen when bans like this are imposed.

Here’s a hint: School bake sales usually act as fundraisers for clubs and sports. But in order to raise those funds, people have to actually spend money on the things being sold.

Raise your hand if you think a bake sale featuring kale biscuits is going to be as successful as one with fudgy brownies — you know, the ones that are still kind of warm in the middle and just the right amount of moist and they just smell so delicious and you have to have more than one because, come on, that’s like a perfectly chocolately slice of heaven right there — take my money already.

In Massachusetts, an effort to ban brownies and other sweets at school bake sales incited a bake-lash not seen in that state since the British tried to march on Lexington and Concord.

As the Boston Globe reported at the time the state tried it’s brownie ban:

Representative Bradford Hill, an Ipswich Republican, said he proposed junking the ban after being inundated with calls from school booster clubs, from football to the drama club, saying they desperately needed bake sale money to continue operating.

Hill said that when legislators debated and ultimately passed a bill in July 2010 directing public health officials to crack down on junk food in schools, they never dreamed the officials would declare war on beloved bake sales.

Terri L. Murphy – treasurer for the Ipswich Music, Art & Drama Association, a booster club for arts in local schools – said she e-mailed Hill when she heard about the ban earlier this week.

“It was like, ‘Oh, no, we’re going to lose about $6,000 a year,’ ’’ she said…

… “Do we put out apples and oranges and yogurt? Yes,’’ )Murphy) said. “Do they sell? No.’’

Similar concerns are already cropping up in Vermont.  Unless this is all a backdoor attempt to shut down schoolchildren’s extracurricular activities  — and, really, who has the energy for extracurriculars when all you’re eating is kale  — maybe Vermont should reconsider the ban.

But until parents demand a change ,or until little brownie gangsters are running the Green Mountain State’s schools, the ban is here to stay.

That’s why Vermont’s Agency of Education is this week’s winner. Their prize is a never-ending buffet of stale kale biscuits.

Boehm can be reached at [email protected] and follow Bruce Parker’s excellent work right here.

Part of 107 in the series Nanny State of the Week
  1. Nanny-state state of the week: MD may become first to ban Vaportinis
  2. Nanny-state city of the week: Minneapolis wants to ban take-out trays
  3. Skim is in: CT lawmakers want to ban whole milk in day cares
  4. Nanny state of the week: Fairfax, VA, wants to limit the right to assemble
  5. Nanny state of the week: SC — and Schumer — for duplicative efforts to ban powdered alcohol
  6. Nanny of the Week: Virginia hoses down car wash fundraisers
  7. Nanny of the Week: Even a summertime trip to the beach can’t be nanny-free
  8. Nanny of the week: Federal authorities think feral cats can read signs
  9. Nanny of the week: Cambridge wants to ban ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft
  10. Nanny-stater of the week: NY lawmaker wants to ban photos with tigers
  11. Nanny-stater of the Week: Who needs cupcakes and candy? Here, have a pencil
  12. Nanny-stater of the week: Fargo limits kids to less than four shots of juice per day
  13. Nanny-stater of the week: Wisconsin towns fight repeal of bow ban
  14. Nanny of the week: No fun in the sun, thanks to Congress and FDA
  15. Nanny-stater of the week: DOT to ban cell phone use on planes
  16. Nanny of the week: The out-of-control trend of arresting non-helicopter moms
  17. Nanny of the Week: Vermont city could ban ‘human activity’
  18. Nanny of the Week: Mississippi makes bird feeders illegal – by accident
  19. Nanny of the week: MO town bans breastfeeding near pools
  20. Nanny of the Week: School bans lip balm, 11 year-old girl fights back
  21. blows lid off Vermont’s bake sale brownie ban
  22. Nanny of the Week: Seattle imposes fine on residents who throw away food
  23. Nanny of the Week: California bans plastic bags
  24. Nanny of the week: Maybe this time it will be different for Chicago
  25. Nanny of the Week: Florida growls at craft breweries’ growlers
  26. Nanny of the Week: Massachusetts town seeking to ban tobacco faces uprising from residents
  27. Nanny of the Week: Proposed bans on Thanksgiving Day shopping
  28. Nanny of the week: U.S. government bans ‘Comfyballs’ underwear
  29. Nanny of the Week: Better take down those holiday decorations
  30. Nanny of the week: Towns ban sledding
  31. Nanny of the Week: New York City plans to ban out-of-state cars
  32. Nanny of the Week: Snow-shoveling teens get in trouble with the law
  33. Nanny of the Week: Get caught wearing yoga pants three times, go to jail for life
  34. Nanny of the Week: Georgia lawmaker wants to ban mermaids, werewolves, other fictional creatures from real life
  35. Nanny State of the Week: Endangering manatees in Florida
  36. Nanny of the Week: Christie caves to protectionist gravestone proposal in N.J.
  37. Nanny of the Week: Don’t mix beer and ice cream – because of the children
  38. Nanny of the Week: Is the minimum wage a nanny state policy?
  39. Nanny of the Week: Republican in NY backs cat declawing ban
  40. Nanny of the Week: NJ continues ban on self-serve gasoline, because sometimes it snows
  41. Nanny of the Week: Bernie Sanders is coming for your deodorant
  42. Nanny of the Week: Will babies confuse beer for their binkies?
  43. Nanny of the Week: Weeds will prevail in Maryland lawn care ban
  44. Nanny State of the Week: FDA bans trans-fats
  45. Nanny State of the Week: L.A. plans to jail unlicensed street vendors
  46. Nanny ST8 of the Week: Anti-government messages not allowed on license plates
  47. Nanny State of the Week: Helicopters, horses and New York City
  48. Nanny State of the Week: Lawsuit challenges Seattle trash snooping
  49. Nanny State of the Week: Town officials mandate mowing
  50. Nanny State of the Week: Florida county sends environmental specialist to investigate BBQ
  51. Nanny State: Despite menu nannies, Americans still fat!
  52. Nanny State of the Week: New York City’s ban on Styrofoam hurts businesses, consumers
  53. Nanny State of the Week: Colorado Springs may ban sitting in public places
  54. Nanny State of the Week: New York’s soda ban could be back — but for kids only
  55. Nanny State of the Week: D.C. flexing licensing muscles at personal trainers
  56. Nanny State of the Week: Hammock bans mean no hanging out on college campuses
  57. Nanny State of the Week: County can use same lawn treatments it banned residents from using
  58. Nanny State of the Week: Pols want to ban daily fantasy sports
  59. Nanny State of the Week: Bay Area bureaucrats ban fireplaces, wood stoves
  60. Nanny State of the Week: Halloween for the politically correct only
  61. Nanny State of the Week: Governments lag behind the public on orca captivity ban
  62. Nanny State of the Week: New York might accidentally ban makeup
  63. Nanny State of the Week: California could be first state to apply no-fly list to guns
  64. Nanny State of the Week: University may block social media app in futile effort to combat racism
  65. Nanny State of the Week: City fines residents for chipped paint, mismatched curtains
  66. Nanny State of the Week: No Christmas in Bethlehem this year
  67. Nanny State of the Week: Connecticut may outlaw smoking in many cars
  68. Nanny State of the Week: Town inspection checks whether you cleaned your toilet
  69. Nanny State of the Week: Minnesota men facing felony charges for selling beer
  70. Nanny State of the Week: City rewrites law to block theater from getting liquor license
  71. Nanny State of the Week: FDA goes beyond the pale, prepares to ban teen tanning
  72. Nanny State of the Week: Charleston’s storied history is off-limits to the unlicensed
  73. Nanny State of the Week: Feds marketing food stamps with bingo games, TV ads
  74. Nanny State of the Week: No sipping and selling for Alabama winemakers
  75. Nanny State of the Week: Jail time for texting while walking in New Jersey
  76. Nanny State of the Week: In time for Opening Day, cities ban chewing tobacco at ballparks
  77. Nanny State of the Week: Feds send LSD Ale on a long, strange trip
  78. Nanny State of the Week: Happy Tax Day! Now get ready to pay more to file
  79. Nanny State of the Week: A state license for breast-feeding advice?
  80. Nanny State of the Week: School officials bully kids with ban on skinny jeans
  81. Nanny State of the Week: FDA fries family’s potato chip business with new cooking oil mandates
  82. Nanny State of the Week: CFPB knows what is best for your personal finances
  83. Nanny State of the Week: City cracks down on crawfish boils after mayor’s aide complains
  84. Nanny State of the Week: Florida couple still fighting for their vegetable garden
  85. Nanny State of the Week: State lawmakers to decide where you can get an Uber in Boston
  86. Nanny State of the Week: Businesses can’t sell parking spaces to Braves fans
  87. Nanny State of the Week: OK, everybody’s foam toys, out of the pool
  88. Nanny State of the Week: Get out of the pool!
  89. Nanny State of the Week: Common sense goes to the dogs in Phoenix
  90. Nanny State Of The Week: It’s nanny-on-nanny in Portland pot dispute
  91. Nanny State of the Week: Your pool isn’t cool
  92. Nanny State of the Week: You can’t be trusted to rent to your family
  93. Nanny State of the Week: Protecting pub crawlers from themselves
  94. Nanny State of the Week: Government fingerprints on your beer bottle
  95. Nanny State of the Week: Swimming with dolphins? Not if NOAA gets its way
  96. Nanny State of the Week: Keep your kids off the trees
  97. Nanny State of the Week: No property rights without paperwork
  98. Nanny State of the Week: Chicken nannies hatch new regulations
  99. Environmental nannies can’t regulate cow farts — yet
  100. Nanny State of the Week: Silence is golden in Worcester
  101. Nanny State of the Week: Land regulation trampling on cultural history
  102. Nanny State of the Week: New Jersey’s great leaf-blowing war
  103. Nanny State of the Week: New York bans homesharing ads
  104. Nanny State of the Week: Food truck destruction by the health nannies
  105. Nanny State of the Week: Chicago tries again with plastic bag tax
  106. Nanny State of the Week: Butts out in public housing
  107. Nanny State of the Week: Baltimore closes in on toy gun ban


Eric Boehm is the national regulatory reporter for He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. His work has appeared in Reason Magazine, National Review Online, The Freeman Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Examiner and Fox News. He was once featured in a BuzzFeed listicle. Follow him on Twitter @EricBoehm87 and reach him at [email protected]