I’m going to zoom back in from the whole scary question of whether or not the economy is really going to collapse, and look at a little part of the solution to whatever happens: urban livestock! Yes, you too can be a farmer! I’m talking to you, city slicker! And I suppose I’m talking to myself, since I have not yet gotten with the urban-livestock program. Nevertheless, I don’t think my lack of action should prevent me from sharing a really cool idea.
Whatever happens with the various bailouts and stimuli and deflation, people are going to eat eggs.
Many cities allow small numbers of chickens (maybe including Chicago! but nobody is quite sure!) so some minimal level of chicken farming is fairly accessible. There is even a website for chicken-farming fans. Some folks have even pushed the envelope into other types of livestock in fairly urban places.
For example, Novella Carpenter is raising goats and all sorts of other critters at Ghost Town Farm in Oakland, Calif. She is also offering classes on how to tan cute little bunny hides! I’m not sure how she does it, but am very curious to check out the farm tour next month. I also should note that she’s got a book coming out and seems like an unusually sharp person.
Of course, not everyone is ready to go all out with urban farming and get cows and such. Nor is everyone’s next door neighbor ready for that. Heavens no.
And of course, even chickens live a very long time, which might be more of a commitment than some people might want. So some folks are starting to do chicken co-ops (which are not to be confused with chicken coops, nor with my blogger name). In Portland, Ore. there is a group of folks who have launched a chicken co-op at Zenger Farm, on the urban outskirts. They share tasks with weekly shifts, and do joint projects and just generally get their eggs really smartly.
This is a great solution for those of us who want to dabble in livestock but aren’t quite ready to go all-out like Superurbanfarmer Novella. And once we are setting up cooperative farming projects, why not other animals too? This could provide a way for new veggie-farmers to focus on that trade while someone else takes care of bringing the manure.