Saturday, September 15, 2012

Urban Farming... For or Against?

Where do you stand on the increasingly contentious issue of urban farming?

Over the past couple of years, in my area, it has become more acceptable, and more common for 'city folk' to raise chickens and now ducks, in their yards.  It has become a bit of a hot issue as lines are drawn, for and against the right of people to bring these animals into the city, and raise them for meat and/or eggs, for their own use.

Over the past 3 winters, we house and kitty-sat in a lovely suburb, and the family across the street kept a few laying hens, and some people down the street kept meat hens and a rooster. Once in a while we would hear them, but they never bothered us and we certainly couldn't smell them.  I did wonder, though, if it is worthwhile, either for health or economical reasons, to keep chickens in the city.

The family across the street that have the laying hens also have 2 young daughters.  I kinda suspect that their chickens were more to educate the girls than anyhing else, really.

Now that we have moved right into the 'inner city' in Victoria, into the oldest neighborhood here, we have come across a unique neighbor, a few blocks away.

This yard is on a corner lot and is, in reality, a farm yard.  The duck pens are on one side, the chicken pens on the other, and the ground betwee them is full of food-producing plants.  The outer perimeter of the yard is fenced and has sunflowers and hollyhocks all around.

There are about 10 ducks in all.

I felt bad for the chickens.  I am sure they thought that I had come to feed them!

Huge sunflowers along the front of the yard.

Not sure what kind of squash this is but I was so excited to see it!

It is a bit noisy when you walk past... clucking and quacking, and I find it all quite charming and the people that live there are very friendly and open to conversation and questions.

I wonder if I would like to live next door, though, or across the street.

We don't have animals, but we do some vegetable and fruit gardening on our balcony, in containers.  I have some tomatoes, lots of herbs, and some strawberries, too.  It is nice to be able to pick fresh veggies and fruit.. they taste wonderful!

Red cherry tomatoes.

Yellow heirloom tomatoes.

Ripe strawberries.

What do you think? Are you for or against urban farming?

I would be so interested to hear about any experiences you have had with it.


  1. I think it's great if you know what you're doing. Unfortunately I forget to water my herbs every day so I don't think I could handle caring for them properly! :)

  2. I live in a small town where the farmers grow a lot of wheat but I'm sure a lot of the people that live on farms have animals here. Most of them live outside of the city limits though so I never hear them :) I want to start my own garden next spring!

  3. I've never seen a plot that you could see from the front of the house. I know a couple of people who keep chickens in their back garden, but that's usually the limit. And not normally in particularly "urban" areas. Apparently the problem in London is too many bee hives on top of tall buildings!

  4. Interesting. Part of me is all for it, eating healthy natural food as long as you aren't disturbing anyone. But, then I think of a house that I have driven by many times that has chickens etc. and their yard is a horrible sight to see. Dirty, no fence to keep the chickens in, garbage all around. I can imagine the neighbors aren't too happy. So I guess it depends on whether you can do it without being an eyesore to those around you:)

  5. Very interesting dilemma. I can understand people doing this. We are in the midst of a multi-year economic crash in our parts. MANY of our friends and acquaintances are suffering immensely, losing homes, etc. I want to say that I am for it, but raising livestock in the suburbs or city, I think could infringe on the comfort of others. It can get stinky and noisy. So, I'd have to say I'm against the animal part (unfortunately), but as far as growing food, I am so for it. We actually have two gardens, one in our back yard and one at the "city" public garden. It is so great to have so many tomatoes that we have to give them away. And the food tastes so much better. There are some months we go out back to pick a fresh salad every night for dinner. Yummy.

  6. I would have to say I am for it as long as people take care of their animals properly.

  7. I don't really live in an uban area so it is hard for me to have an opinion. I do live in a subdivision but the smallest yard is 1/3 of an acre so we aren't really so close it would bother me. We have a farm across the street, several horse farmers down the street, and an animal physical therapist all within walking distance. I actually like the sounds of the animals and can't imagine life without them. However, I can understand why people that were in a more densly populated area might find it annoying.

    I do think those chickens need more room!

  8. i keep a small vegetable and herb garden and love it, i'd love to make it bigger. i think the idea of chickens for eggs is kind of cool, but i don't know anything about them. i can imagine it might either be an eyesore or noisy for neighbors.

  9. I am all for urban farming. However, anything that makes things hard for others is not good. For instance, pigs. They smell. So nobody wants a bunch of pigs around. Also, roosters. In my neighborhood there is a family with chickens and goats. I am pretty sure you are not allowed to have roosters, for obvious reasons.

  10. I think they are great and would love to do more but our homeowners doesnt allow it. I think as long as people are thinking about the people around them than its all good!

  11. I think it's a great idea as long as the animals have enough space and are cared for properly. In addition, I think that everyone should try to grow their own foods. That being said, I have a huge empty patch of dirt in my front yard that I can't manage to keep a garden going in. Sigh.

  12. I'm for urban farming as long as there's enough space for the animals. I think it's great that more people are trying to farm in the city.


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