Edible City is where I muse about urban gardening and share tips from my new book City Farmer

Friday, May 27, 2011

Help Make the Gals Legal!

These three hens have a group name: Ethel Mabel Merman. Each goes by the three-part name. They're lovely ladies, great egg producers, and illegal in Toronto.

But change is in the air--possibly. There's talk of allowing chickens in Toronto, and a debate, starting with the Licensing and Standards Committee, could begin very soon.

Sorry to mix metaphors, but it's time to get our ducks in a row.

Please consider signing the petition to make backyard hens legal in Toronto: www.torontochickens.com/Toronto_Chickens/Petition.html. The more signatures we have when the chicken debate heats up, the better! Please take a moment to sign the petition, and perhaps even urge friends and colleagues to do so. 

Many thanks--from me, and from Ethel Mabel Merman.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Toronto's First Chicken Coop Tour

I wasn't sure how much interest there would be, but we had a capacity crowd for what will, I hope, turn into an annual event: a tour of backyard chicken coops in Toronto! I organized it as part of the Jane's Walks tours going on all over Toronto this past weekend, which made the whole thing very easy to set up. We did the tour on bikes (like the monthly bike event Critical Mass, but we were Chicken Mass), and registration was limited to 30, so some people who wanted to come, couldn't. But I'm hoping to do another tour this summer or early fall and will post details here for anyone who's interested. (One of the conditions of registration was that participants had to promise not to squeal to City officials about the locations of contraband chickens hiding out in Toronto.)

We went to 5 different coops, from Crawford and College to Eglinton and Bathurst. The biggest surprise for participants was the coop in a downtown front yard, completely visible from the street. How this chicken-keeper has managed to get away with such a public set-up, I don't know, but good on her (and her neighbours!).

Many thanks to everyone who took part (many participants wanted to set up their own coops and asked great questions). Also, many thanks to the founder of www.torontochickens.com, who was a great resource person on the tour (and who baked buckwheat cookies for us), and to Karen May, another great resource on the tour, who wrote her Master's thesis at the University of Toronto on backyard chickens.

One of the delights of the tour was that Edith Mabel Merman (a beautiful Leghorn hen) laid an egg while we were visiting her--it was the first experience of a warm, just-laid egg for many participants and it was lovely to see people cradling the egg in their hands with awe!