Monday, June 07, 2010

The Bad Economy Is Good For Something

I remember when I moved here that I thought that there should be more gardens in town. Since I have been gardening, I noticed an increase in the number of flower gardens in our neighborhood, and eventually, all over town. I really like to think that I made it look so appealing that people couldn't help themselves, but I have this feeling that it is more than that.

Vegetable gardens aren't normally popular due to their tendency to be non-aesthetic. However, over the last two years, I have witnessed a drastic increase in the number of backyard vegetable gardens. I'm pretty sure that thanks to our lousy economy and growing concern over the safety of our food sources, more people are saying "to heck" with looks and "hurray" to less mowing and more cheap, healthy produce. And I couldn't be happier. I am an advocate of self-sufficiency and producing locally, and what could be more local than food from your own backyard?

And these backyard gardeners must be realizing the true value in it as our city is poised to change a very old law that restricts backyard production. Tomorrow the city council will be hearing a report and proposal of a change in the livestock ordinance to allow urban chicken keeping!

I am so stoked! Although I may be a long way from actually keeping my own hens, I am excited that it could finally become a possibility for me and others. Tonight, I am emailing all the council members to let them know how I feel about this proposal. I have a good feeling about it passing. We were told that it wouldn't matter if we went to the council to get them to say no to Walmart, but 5 years later, we still are Walmart-free. And you know what? Our town didn't go bankrupt because of it.

If you have any posts/stories or websites that you think might help our cause, please leave the address in your comment. Although I would like anything you could give me before I send out the emails tonight, the council isn't scheduled to vote on it until the 22nd, so you can keep sending me info even after tonight. Every little bit helps :)

Wish us luck!!


Blogger Abby Rogers said...

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I post photographs of glorious vistas of the countryside and interesting tidbits about Great Britain for the pleasure of Scotophiles everywhere! There’s also something special every Wednesday…. Have a look, maybe you’ll join the ever-growing list of followers!

6/07/2010 7:11 PM  
Blogger The Violet Fern said...

Here here! Though I am away away! I agree with your views. And there is nothing like eating your own fresh produce from your own backyard. The way things are going, let's hope this doesn't become illegal!

6/07/2010 8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope your town council makes the enlightened choice. When I am in southern New England visiting family, I occasionally drive to Rehoboth, Massachusetts, where one of my favorite plant nurseries is located. As you enter Rehoboth, there are signs identifying the town as a "Right to Farm Community." I love the idea of people being encouraged to farm and being protected from complaints about farm noises (like roosters) or smells (like manure). -Jean

6/07/2010 8:27 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Abby Rogers, sure I love Scotland, but what do you know about chickens?

The Violet Fern, teehee, you're funny :)
That would be just like our government to make growing food illegal -- for our own protection, I'm sure.

JeansGarden, I love that "Right to Farm". I truly believe that the right to produce our own food should be in the Bill of Rights.

6/07/2010 10:34 PM  
Anonymous Kathy M said...

Good luck on changing of the livestock ordinance. We have chickens and they not only give us delicious eggs to eat, but we have also used the eggs to barter for artisan bread baked by our neighbors. When we have too many eggs, we give them away to friends and family. Chickens help build our community and connect us to our food sources.

6/07/2010 11:44 PM  
Blogger Urban Dirt Girl said...

Good luck with your ordinance. I'm sure they will see the light! I agree on the backyard veggie gardens. I think folks don't trust the food industry anymore and are taking action by taking action. there are a lot more locavores and veggie growers in our neighborhood too....which is awesome. Good luck!

6/08/2010 4:51 AM  
Blogger Bonnie said...

I too have seen an increase in gardens. I like to think I inspired some of them. I give away many of my "extra" plants and people realize how much they enjoy gardening. I don't think we'll ever see chickens allowed in our city though. Those days are gone, I expect too many people would complain.

6/08/2010 5:29 AM  
Blogger Jim Groble said...

Good luck with the city. jim

6/08/2010 6:24 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Kathy M, I was planning on giving our extra eggs to the food shelf.
Geez! There I go talking like I really am going to get hens!

Urban Dirt Girl, I heard that we can expect a lot of opposition, but I'm hoping that enough "enlightened" and well-spoken people will be there to quell the mob. I love being able to go into my backyard to get my food.

Bonnie, I think people enjoy my garden so much as they pass by that they get the gardening bug and put up a little garden of their own. I can't even tell you how many times people have called to me from the street or stopped their car to tell me how much they enjoy my garden and how they didn't even know there was that big of a variety of plants or that a particular beautiful plant existed.

Jim, thanks. I know we will need it. But the fact that they are even hearing it is pretty good.

6/08/2010 7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck with the city council!

We have a rising trend of young people growing vegetables too. It must be a global thing.

6/09/2010 8:38 AM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Vrtlarica, I hope so!! I think it is so important to feeling connected to the world/earth/environment. Plus fresh produce is so nummy!

6/09/2010 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Ellen @ CheapCooking said...

Our town changed the ordinance a few years ago to allow I think 4 hens (no roosters). I've been wanting to do it but worry about my dogs and the chickens getting along! I think it's great though and hopes your council sees the light.


6/09/2010 1:23 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Ellen, I haven't heard if there was any progress yet, but I have already taken the day of the meeting off so that I can be there. They are considering letting us have up to 6 hens. I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but have been unable to keep myself from planning for the possibility.

6/09/2010 1:56 PM  
Blogger Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

Not only have I noticed more people gardening in their backyards, but I was excited to see several new vegetable gardens in some front yards near us.
I hope the council will change the ordinance. Our town allows up to 3 chickens and if we had the space we'd have them. Keep us posted.

6/10/2010 3:47 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Catherine, the local paper just posted the report of the last council meeting and the members don't seem to be completely against the idea. I have already taken the day off to attend the next meeting. I am trying to get the word out to anyone I might think would go and is pro-chicken.

6/10/2010 7:20 PM  
Blogger inadvertent farmer said...

I do not understand why in the world a barking dog is ok but a couple of hens are not...stupidity in my book!

Good luck it is about time people wised up to all that can be grown and raised on their own little piece of land! Kim

6/10/2010 9:18 PM  
Blogger Elephant's Eye said...

A rooster crowing in the morning is definitely a good thing. Strings of dogs barking 24/7 is not. We are in a country town, so yes there are chickens, but not in my garden. Good luck!!

6/11/2010 4:14 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

That is exciting! I hope you're able to have your hens. I would also really like to have some and will live vicariously through you!

6/12/2010 10:54 PM  
Blogger Rosey said...

What is the world coming to when you can't grow your own damn beans? Are we all complete inept idiots who rely on the corporations monocultures?
Best of luck to you with the C. .c
Give em heck.

6/13/2010 6:27 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Inadvertant Farmer, dogs and cats can be a real nusiance, but ANYONE can keep them without needing permission. Our city does require permits for dogs, but doesn't actually enforce that. I think chickens wouldn't be any more annoying than the thousands of birds already living in our city, and they'd be a valuable addition to the community.

Elephant's Eye, I don't know about roosters. I was camping at a farm one night and the rooster started crowing at 3am and just would not shut up! I didn't get any sleep. The chickens were very quiet though, even with all the ruckus - so chickens, YES!

Wendy, I'm so nervous about next week. I really hope that they say yes. If they do, I won't get chicken right away. I have another big project coming up that will take up a lot of my time for the next year. Update to come.

Rosey, those corporations are trying to control every aspect of our lives -- like the company store/truck system made its workers into legal slaves. I say whatever we can do to buck that system the better off we all will be in the long run.

6/13/2010 8:11 PM  
Blogger Christine B. said...

Keeping chickens in my city is still rather avant garde but a friend of mine loves it. My next (bigger) yard will have a space for keeping chickens;) Of course in my state, there are so many things that eat chickens, even in the city, that I don't suppose they have a very long life....

I think chickens are OK for neighborhoods, but roosters would drive me nuts. The barking dogs are bad enough.

Hope your city council sees the light.

Christine in Alaska

6/15/2010 11:04 AM  
Blogger meemsnyc said...

We've been thinking of keeping chickens too but have not taken the plunge yet.

6/16/2010 12:26 AM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Christine B, we have plenty here that might like to eat chickens: cats, eagles, fox, coyotes, raccoons, a few snakes, even dogs. We do also have bobcats, bears, and cougar -- but they don't come into the city, thankfully! The chickens will have to be contained at all times. Which I think is a good rule considering that it is hard enough to train a dog to stay in his yard off leash -- I couldn't imagine trying to train a chicken.

Meemsnyc, I'm still not sold on the idea for myself, but I would love to have that as an option in this city for myself later, or even just for those who want it now. I don't see the problem with it and I am all for things that help bring the food production more local as much as is sensible (I don't want people raising pigs next door!).

6/16/2010 6:59 PM  

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