I want to start this post by talking for a moment about the Eat Local Challenge. You will be getting more information in the next few days, but just a reminder that it's in May. As in 12 days from now. We have had a ton of interest, both here and on the Locavores site, and I am very excited to be trying this out in the springtime. To brush up on the Eat Local Challenge, see the announcement post from last August. The challenge will basically be the same this year. You set your rules, and do what you can during the month to consume as many locally-grown products as possible. For a great summary of the challenge, please see Jamie's post on 10 Signs Like This.
May in San Francisco is usually the time of spring peas, strawberries, fava beans, and cherries. Due to this years incredible rains, however, none of us are too sure what we are going to be eating in May. I am still getting Red Russian kale and butternut squash from my CSA, so it's anyone's guess. I wrote a post today for Bay Area Bites that I'd ask you to read if you care about farmers and what this season is doing to their crops. Short end of the story: It doesn't look great, and no one is sure how bad things are yet. We should all do what we can to support our local farmers during this time.
Switching gears a little, you may have visited the site of Patrick and Holly called Letter from Hen Waller. I have it linked on my blogroll there on the left. I first started reading their blog a while back when they were living in Berkeley. They are dedicated to reducing their ecological footprint, and do this by growing their own food, biking as many places as possible, and raising chickens for eggs and meat. Add to this the fact that they are both compelling writers, and you can understand why they have one of my favorite sites out there.
Patrick and Holly moved to Portland in the past six months, and I've been enjoying reading about their new adventures there. Holly wrote a great post this weekend describing their trials and tribulations with trying to get a permit to raise chickens (in Portland you can have three without a permit, but more than that and you have to apply for a permit and notify your neighbors). They were met with some stiff opposition from their neighbors and really had to consider whether this was worth the fight. They decided to do anything they could:
We choose to raise chickens in the city as a part of our convictions. We raise them to deepen our connection with the natural world, by practicing animal husbandry. We raise them to enjoy nutritious wonderful eggs from chickens raised in a good, healthy environment, in the sun, hormone- and antibiotic-free. We raise chickens to help maintain breeds of birds that are not raised in factories, so that when, inevitably, disease devastates the factory breeds, some hardier breeds will survive, to provide stock for meat and eggs for all people. We raise chickens to create a more integrated environment on the land we occupy, using animal fertilizer, not petroleum-based inputs, to grow food that we eat, and the plants that make a space beautiful and healthy to live in.
We believe that we can no longer afford to live in a strictly ornamental world, and cannot continue to be an increasingly flaccid and parasitical people. We live in a world of increasing social and economic crises that promise only to become worse with the accumulating impacts of global warming and peak oil. Patrick and I have chosen to live in a way that reduces our ecological footprint, wherein we seek to live as locally as we can. We support local food producers. We live our lives within a radius that we can cover by bicycle. And through raising chickens and gardening the small amount of food we do, we seek to learn and develop once-common skills, and to reconnect with the plants and animals that nourish us.
To read the rest of the very interesting and inspiring and also quite sad story, visit Letter from Hen Waller.