Tuesday, June 15, 2010

city chickens

C'mon, everyone likes chicken. I know I do. And eggs! I could eat dozens of those amazing morsels in all the multitude of ways they can be fixed. But in this post-Food Inc. world, I often take a hard look at those chicken breasts and cartons of eggs in the store. Where did they come from? Am I supporting an inhumane system of industrialized agriculture? If only there was a way I could know where my food came from.

Oh wait, there is! Right now in my back yard a multitude of plants are working to give me delicious vegetables and berries. I know exactly where they came from. I was there from seed packet all the way back to composting the soil for them. If I was a vegetarian, I could pat myself on the back and stop right now. But chicken.... delicious chicken.

So I can fork over more money for "organic" chicken (trusting that the farmers followed the the intent of the certification) or I can raise some myself- a few delicious egg-laying, succulent meat-bearing pets. Much more useful than my lazy, good-for-nothing dogs. Alas, I cannot. Yet.

Knoxville does not allow citizens to raise chickens inside the city limits. And culturally it's unacceptable to eat dog meat, so... what to do? A new proposed ordinance is up for a vote tonight at the city council that will allow those who want to to raise a limited number of hens (no roosters! I promise) on their property in the city. Here's the deal- read below and if you agree, copy it or paraphrase it into an email and send it to your city council member:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I wish to express my full support for the Animal Control Board’s proposed ordinance change to allow residents to keep a small number of domesticated chickens. This change characterizes growing interest among our residents to expand urban gardening. This includes the keeping of small animals to support healthy, local food choices. I believe the ordinance is drafted in a manner to sufficiently protect property integrity, property value, and neighborhood aesthetics, as well as increase community interactions through gardening and pet companionship.

If supported by a fully staffed Animal Control force, I believe the currently proposed ordinance for domesticated chickens will benefit the community. Knoxville is not approaching this practice alone. Seattle, Portland (OR and ME), San Francisco, Denver, Fort Collins, Madison, Cedar Falls, and our neighbor Asheville, NC have recently passed similar code amendments. The main themes throughout these ordinances (and addressed by our city’s Animal Control) relate to limiting the number of hens, banning of roosters, and specifying that hens be confined within coops of specific design and construction.



Better yet, join Lo and I at the council meeting tonight at 7:00. Hopefully we can make a big step forward for the urban gardening and organic movement in Knoxville. Thanks!


Susanne said...

Vote! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Kevin said...

I'll be there.

Robert said...

Knoxville chickens: unite!

Lo said...

you're darn tootin i'll be there, ck.

make sure y'all read the proposed ordinance change because alot of confusion is still out there about specifics.

here is the link to the ordinance approved by animal control

The Modern Gal said...

C'mon, you'd never eat Bob.

ck said...

viva la pollo!


and for the record, I'd consider eating Bob once he was all worn out and stuff.

Kevin said...

I was a little sad that the headline wasn't Clusterclucked!