2009 July 1
Legal in New York City, was illegal last week in Buffalo

Legal to raise in New York City, was illegal last week in Buffalo

The headline on my friend’s twitter page this morning exclaimed, “YAY CHICKENS.” Although I am a fan of chicken prepared in many delicious ways, what I didn’t know was in my hometown of Buffalo, NY the city council overturned an old nuisance regulation which outlawed the ownership of hens within the city limits.

The idea of “connecting” with ones’ food, is in vogue do the popularity of books such as Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, movies such as Food Inc. and the rising Locavore movement. Increasingly people are becoming concerned with not just what is in the food, but where it’s coming from- but I digress- back to chickens.

New York City permits chickens as long as they do not cause a nuisance; roosters and assorted peafowl are not permitted. Hen raising is being explored by many urban agricultural groups as well as CSAs to help meet the demand for locally raised food; however, New York City’s laws aren’t all permissive. Currently beekeepers in Brooklyn are waging a battle to retract the ban on “dangerous” and “wild” animals which has been interpreted to apply to bees.

Illegal to raise in New York City

Illegal to raise in New York City

Although zoning arose to prevent the kinds of activities that could potentially be a nuisance in dense settlements, these codes are notoriously inflexible to the changing urban climate, and cities are increasingly being pressured to react and adjust to these new movements that are arising in food production.

In the meantime, I’m excited because today I pick up my vegetable order from the Harvest Astoria CSA I’m part of, but more on that in a future blog entry….

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1 Comment
2009 July 1
Ellen Noonan permalink

My next door neighbor keeps four chickens in the living room of her one bedroom apartment, in a coop she built by hand. We benefit from semi-regular gifts of fresh (often still warm) eggs, in exchange for occasionally feeding them when she’s away. On nice weekend days, she has a portable coop contraption that she wheels into the backyard of our building; she spreads out a tarp with a net over it where they can wander around and peck a bit.

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