I was at work in the planning department when I received a public inquiry regarding regulations for raising chickens within city limits. This was a coincidence, because just the other day I was entertaining the thought of having a few backyard chickens of my own; one of my coworkers also expressed his interest in owning a few hens.
This was an issue a couple years back when many cities in California passed ordinances to address the growing demand for backyard chickens. The number of urbanites that took part increased as more and more cities allowed it. Even crowded metropolitans such as Los Angeles and San Francisco passed chicken ordinances.
That got me thinking about the popularity and fascination of growing your own food. Most city dwellers who enjoy the hobby usually do so in the form of vegetable gardens, myself included. Maybe it’s the sense of pride one feels from putting in the hard work. Maybe it’s just for the food. Personally, I enjoy backyard gardening because it’s sustainable.
Back when I was in school as an undergrad, I would try to buy locally as often as possible and frequent farmer’s markets. I liked knowing that the food didn’t have to travel thousands of miles to get there, and that the money I spent was going back into the local economy.
While that’s good, DIY backyard gardens are even more sustainable. It practices food education. I consider these points to be the greatest benefits:
- You know where the food is coming from–your backyard or a community garden.
- You know exactly how it is raised. What organic methods–or pesticides–you use is up to you. Because most of the food you grow will be going into you and your family’s mouths, you’re more inclined to raise it as safely as possible.
- The savings in transportation costs (in terms of fuel costs and emissions reductions) from driving to the market to buy the same foods.
This won’t convince everyone to grow their own food. But it’d be cool if more people gave it a shot–they might enjoy it. At the very least, they may become more conscious of where the produce they buy at the store is from.
As for me, I might start building a coop for my future chickens.