Sunday, July 08, 2007

Chicka What? Chicka Who?

Down at the folks' house this weekend for the family reunion, pa and I were engaged in our usual Sunday activity-watching Mike Rowe chuck it up on The Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs. Somehow, between the segment on catfish noodlin' and worm farming, Papa King and I started talking about raising chickens in our respective backyards. (Mama King, my girlfriend and the dogs expressed their interest through a symphony of harmonious snoring. It was a long Saturday, so no hard feelings.)

Of course, I'm still questioning why you can't own chickens in the county I currently call home. I mean, if Londoners and our progressive kin out in the Pacific Northwest can make friendly with these lovable little omelette factories, why can't we own 'em in this part of Maryland? Not a single living soul hates fresh eggs, and most people that would keep a backyard coop wouldn't have a rooster. I mean, they're roosters; not my idea of a good time, with all the violent pecking and cocka-doodling. Are the government officals worried about cockfighting, noise, smells, and avian diseases (all of which are issues easily addressed)? Maybe the most prominent factor is the perceived reduction in property values with people knowing their neighbors own chickens. This is America 2007, not 1943. The whole thing reeks of nostalgic patriotism, you know with global wars (on terror) and all.

Nevertheless, I'm patiently waiting for the day when much of the USA will MANDATE every neighborhood have some sort of community farm. It doesn't have to be some backwoods homesteading operation. Farming has come a long way in the past century, and high-tech has made inroads in the field of growing stuff just as it has in every other aspect of our lives. It's not too far-fetched to imagine a wireless farm monitoring system keeping tabs on the greenhouse, with automated watering and ventilation systems powered by geek-tech solar panels sending excess electricity back into the grid. Plus, the growing organic and local food movements, combined with rising fuel (and by extension, fertilizer) prices, missing honeybees, and climate change concerns will be motivating factors in updating land-use laws.

Imagine the allowance-within boundaries, of course- of chickens, beehives, front-yard gardens, and all manner of localized food production in Brooklyn, Houston, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, and thousands of smaller cities and towns. A future of home produced fresh eggs, fruits and vegetables, and compost all transported to the local markets or restaurants in the front of a Bakfiets, or the back of WVO biodiesel pickups. Yes, utopian socialist fantasies that actually make sense in a variety of contexts.

*Photo credit: Buff Silkie Bantam Hens via My Pet Chicken - a supplier of "urban chic" pet chicken supplies. They're based in New Jersey, of all places. (Please no hate emails about Jersey; I know you're the garden state for a reason.)


Blogger grace said...

i used to have a pet chicken when i was little - it was great, and i probably would have appreciated the fresh eggs now rather than when i was 7-years-old.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Trynn Diesel said...

Seriously! They should bring the marvelous cock-fight to MD, like the social rooster event we used to have by the Mekong. It was crazy fun. Fresh eggs are good also.

1:55 PM  
Blogger Karas said...

i've been joking about getting chickens for years. i really would if it was legal. not a whole lot. maybe like 2 or 3.

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you abandon us again?

8:16 PM  
Blogger internationalsoutherngurl said...

umm, that chick is cute.... Never thought I'd be saying or posting that... Hey Emilio...I need one of them bikes to ride to my farm,sup?

8:43 PM  

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