The last week of September found us changing our focus from learned skills to researching in an attempt to implement a new ordinance in our city which would allow for us and others to exercise greater freedom in sustainability efforts; we are spearheading a Backyard Poultry effort in our community. Preparedness endeavors have to do with independence and self-reliance regarding provisions for the individual and their family in the face of emergency, disaster, unrest or upheaval; storing supplies, gaining knowledge and practicing skills NOW will make things easier should they be required later. Having the know-how to raise one's own food is an essential and even crucial skill for sustainability, and preparedness, a skill that is being lost at an alarming rate in the modern world. Not only do we want the freedom to provide healthy, natural food for our family now but we want the ability to provide same should an absolute NEED to do so arise.
There are numerous scenarios that make relying soley on commercial food supply problematic, these include but are not limited to:
- Extended power outage (local, regional, national)
- Trucking/transportation system breakdown
- Regional disaster (hurricane, earthquake, flood, etc.)
- National incident (war, terrorism, pandemic, etc)
- Economic collapse and resulting social chaos
- Food shortages caused by large scale crop failures, drought
Back story: When this Yankee transplant moved to Central Arkansas over 19 years ago she was surprised and intrigued by the type and amount of "farm" animals that were kept by the citizens of the community within city limits. Numerous yards had poultry peckin' about, several folks had goats a-grazin', there were a handful of pigs rootin' around and there was even one horse out to pasture in a yard on the main strip. That all changed less than a decade ago when the City Council passed an ordinance restricting the ownership of livestock, poultry, porcine and any and all hoofed animals from being kept within city limits unless you had two or more consecutive acres of land AND the animals were already present; if the land was parceled off, sold outright or the animals removed they could not be replaced. So... just as we were stepping up our sustainability efforts our rights to do so were being restricted. Now, don't get me wrong, I do understand many of the issues that informed the change but a great many of them are unfounded (The 6 Silliest Arguments Against Backyard Chickens); I get that city dwelling is different than farm livin' but I also know that this ain't no metropolis.
Across the country, urban and suburban areas are permitting small, flocks of backyard poultry. Major cities allowing poultry include: New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Baltimore, Nashville, Mobile, Phoenix, Denver, Indianapolis, Louisville, Omaha, Raleigh, Cleveland, Tulsa, Dallas, Tulsa, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Milwaukee, Missoula, Laramie, Idaho Falls, Rapid City, and even Little Rock. In Arkansas (besides Little Rock), North Little Rock,Sherwood, Rogers, Pine Bluff, Forrest City, Eureka Springs, and Jonesboro are but a few cities that permit their residents to raise backyard poultry.
[S]urban chicken enthusiasts value the: a) convenience of being able to harvest fresh eggs from poultry grown free of hormones while consuming a healthy diet from their own backyards; b) insect control provided by their birds; c) natural fertilizer produced by their flock; d) the engagement of children with nature as well as the opportunity to teach them agriculture, animal husbandry, and sustainability practices.
In order to restore some of the lost heritage, history and knowledge, as well as to assist folks in this challenging economic environment (where many are under employed if not out of work altogether), while at the same time encouraging healthier and greener practices the hardworking, law abiding citizens of Lonoke, are respectfully requesting the right to own, keep and raise small, backyard poultry flocks at our residences. We respectfully ask that the current ordinance regarding the keeping of poultry be amended as per the below listed proposal.
^ That is my spiel; for when I actually do present to the City Council. You can read the proposal HERE.
I started THIS Facebook page and began organizing my research. I set the goal of 100 "likes" as the benchmark for making the initial proposal to the city; at present we are only 8 "likes" shy of that goal and because we are so near I am calling the Mayor's office this morning to find out exactly what I need to do to make a presentation to the City Council. I am a bit anxious about it, being the introvert that I am I mind my own business, don't care to stir up controversy, and like to be left in peace, but... the restrictions on what types of animals I, as a citizen of my town, can raise on my own property are actually hindering my quite, non-intrusive, self-sustaining lifestyle and so I have to speak up for me and my family as well as for all of those who would like the opportunity for a healthier, more natural, self-sustaining way of life.
The last month of our preparedness endeavor has culminated in this BYC effort. Support and prayers are appreciated as we attempt to change legislation for our own way of life as well as for the sake of others in the community.
To be continued...
In the meantime here is some interesting reading: