Friday, October 10, 2008

Legalizing urban chickens

I've been so excited about the recent enthusiasm for trying to get the keeping of chickens legalized. It's a great idea, the benefits of which would be enormous for those of us interested in producing our own food sustainably. All the hubbub began with an article Angela posted on her blog. After that, there was an article in ffwd, which probably should have referenced her.

There has been talk recently about orchestrating the movement - writing letters, getting the support of local businesses, which seems like an excellent direction to take it. Here is the email sent by ravis, which outlines an excellent step-by-step plan we could use.

Hi All,

I have just recently come back to Calgary and have been following this
thread as I am also interested in getting chooks in the future. Why
don't we take a slightly different approach to gaining support from
the alder people? We should leave the Guerilla method in our back
pocket and definitely whip it out if needed, but only if they are
wearing leather outfits and spike collars like Lindsay suggested.

To gain the support of the aldermen/women we need to build support in
a similar fashion to that of a pyramid. These alderpeople have
nothing to gain right now by agreeing to allowing chickens into our
neighbourhoods. We should start getting letters of support from non
profit groups like clean calgary, sympathetic CEO's, and local
businesses. This will take time as we need to get a lot of them.
Then as far as the petition goes we should focus on areas of the city
where we know a lot of people would get into urban chook farming.
Luckily we have large numbers of ethnic people who may very well have
had chooks in their home country and may want to have them here. I
bet you that there are 70,000 people that go in and out of T n T
market on a Saturday and Sunday for food. My point is if we start to
haggle the aldermen without getting support from a number of different
sources he is going to push the issue aside and focus his attention on
things that "matter" like arresting cats that are peeing in your
garden. Lets start a list of people in high up places that would
support this. We can also get a petition going in parallel. In
addition we need to write a letter on good management practises for
keeping chickens. We don't want anyone to think that sanitary
conditions are going to be compromised by keeping chooks. To test
this best management practise we get Lindsay set up with some Guerilla
chickens, doesn't monsanto already make these??:)

Here is the start of support list.

Natalie Odd, Clean Calgary
Lindsay Ross
Provincial Green, Liberal and NDP candidates
I will write a letter as
Calgary Garden Path
All of the other community gardens
Hip businesses on 17th and in Ingelwood
Rivas Ecostore
Green builders
YEP Calgary
Green drinks
Landscaping centres??
Home Depot (they might sell chicken coops)
Rona (dido)
Pet stores( they will sell the chicks)

This looks like a great way to get started.

For those of you interested in getting involved, comment here. Join the facebook group, or send letters to your MPs! Let us know what you think about meeting up and getting started!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Calgary Garden Path talk

More emails to pass on:
I will be giving a short presentation on Sunday night at 5:00 pm @ Sunday Night at Calgary Garden Path, about how to justify the 67 dollar tomato and why it is important to persevere with urban ag and small scale permaculture projects. I will be discussing peak oil, climate change and food security and the real costs of food that are hidden from everyday life.

Hope to see you there.

Rob Avis