City Farmers under Attack – Again!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I recently found this article “Are “DIY Slaughter Hobbyists” Destroying Your City?” in an Oakland, CA newspaper and wanted to share it with you.

We all know that the practice of farming in the city, homesteading a suburban lot, growing your own food on a condo balcony, is not everyone’s cup-of-tea, but to promote the practice as harmful and elitist is nothing short of ludicrous. I’m sure many people have had run-ins with uneducated neighbors, people who are ignorant about where their food comes from and how it is produced, and wish to remain that way. But, exactly how does raising animals qualify as harmful? And, when exactly did growing your own food, for food safety sake become an elitist activity that separates us from the less fortunate people in our neighborhoods. It begs the question.

Up until WWII it was commonplace for city dwellers with any amount of property to have a small flock of hens for eggs and meat, a garden for fruits and vegetables, all the while making soap and candles in their backyards to boot. The practice was even encouraged by city fathers as a way for people to eat better and more regularly without impacting or over burdening the food supply.

But now commonsense and self-reliance has left most people. And what has filled the void is dependence on others to feed us, ignorance about where food comes from and how it gets to us, but most of all, complete laziness about taking care of one’s self. Most people would rather put the responsibility of care for their family on other people – farmers to grow the food, processors to make into something that can be thrown in a microwave because people no longer cook, trucking companies to get the food within a few miles of them and a government to give it away for free when people no longer feel like fending for themselves.

Backyard farming is not a practice that should be run out of our neighborhoods, but one that should be encouraged and supported, not only by our fellow neighbors, but by city governments as well. There is so much good, besides good food that can come out of backyard farming, like education and the interconnectedness of man and animals and plants, connection with the natural world, healthy exercise, and an understanding of how our small farm fits into the bigger picture of world agriculture.

Fortunately for me my neighbors are kind, understanding and often times curious about what we do and why we do it, which has led to many great conversations and even a few new flocks of chickens on the street. Even so — I think I’ll give them a carton of eggs just to be safe.

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