South Dakota's oh-so-conservative state and local government officials seem to think the only viable ag is Big Ag. We need California transplant Brita Craven and fellow Rapid City Hens urban chicken advocate Savannah Steen to remind us that small-scale ag conforms nicely to conservative values:
"We want to be able to have hens to provide food for our families. We really want to show the public the great things that can come from backyard chicken-keeping," Steen said.
...Neighbors and passersby often stopped to watch the birds and to admire the attractive, handmade coop. "It built community," Craven said, because people appreciated seeing the virtue of self-sufficiency lived out in their neighborhood.
"It's a myth that most people want to see lawns, not gardens; beige, not color; conformity, not individuality. Living in the city should not mean we forfeit our ability to be self-reliant," she said [Mary Garrigan, "Rapid City Hens flock together to rally support for backyard chickens," Rapid City Journal, 2013.06.10].
We can even make a Chamber of Commerce Republican argument for urban chickens:
Backyard chickens are even good for the local economy, Craven argued. "One aspect of city hens that is often overlooked is job-creation," she said. Local pet shops and feed stores benefit from sales of equipment and supplies; carpenters sell handmade coops (some of which sold for $1,500 or more in California), and many cities sponsor Tour des Coops, promotional events where people view innovative, interesting coop designs [Garrigan, 2013.06.10].
Promoting agriculture doesn't have to involve big handouts and regulatory breaks to massively polluting industrial complexes. It doesn't even require giving handouts to little gals in the marketplace like Craven and Steen. It's as simple as passing sensible regulations (like the chicken ordinance in Sioux Falls) that allow individuals to enjoy a little more personal and economic liberty.
Have some chicken with your tea: Brita and Savannah will be spreading the good word about urban hen ranching today and tomorrow at the West Boulevard Festival at Wilson Park in Rapid City.6 comments