Thursday, June 23, 2011

Raising chickens a normal in Salt Lake City

Hello everyone,

Just to update, London City council voted to hold a public participation meeting on the topic of raising chickens in London's backyards. This will happen on August 16 (time to be determined).

Councillor Harold Usher, who was in the hospital while the Community and Neighbourhood Committee was going on and missed that meeting, sent a letter in to Council, urging his fellow councillors to vote to have the PP meeting. He said:

We are a Council that prides itself on citizen engagement and this is one opportunity to prove we are serious. As Council Members we know that we will ├że faced with many issues; most will be important to all, but some will seem more important to some than to others. We should not unilaterally or autocratically decide if an issue should or should not be heard. A member of the public might well have a piece of valuable information to help us decide on a matter in a democratic fashion.

Enough councillors got the point ... recognized that the expectation had been since last year that there would be a meeting. Sadly, several of them have said that no matter what people say their minds are made up to say 'no chickens.' The mayor Joe Fontana actually belittled the people in attendance, saying they were wasting their own and Council's time. It was an astonishing show of disrespect to citizens, some of whom might have even voted for him.

On a positive note, I was reading today about the Wasatch Community Gardens program in Salt Lake City, Utah (pop. about 190,000) (check out www.wasatchgardens.org ) This week Salt Lake City is holding its 6th annual Tour de Coops. This Saturday there is a walking tour of 18 backyard chicken coops in the north of the city; the tour of coops in the south end was a few days ago. The week is "a promotion of home-grown chickens and urban farming."

In Salt Lake City, having a few chickens is considered a normal and harmless thing. The Wasatch CG's 2008 annual report outlines its Community Education Program and casually reported "Our very popular workshops are taught by local experts and WCG staff. Topics include composting, raising urban chickens, fall and winter planting, and food preservation."

Simple, straightforward.

Like it should be.

Best regards to all,

Why's Woman

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