A blow to urban and suburban agriculture in Michigan

At a special meeting Monday,  the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development removed Right to Farm protection for farm animals raised in neighborhoods with more than 13 homes within 1/8 of a mile of the animals, or with any home within 250 feet of the proposed facility….

The Right to Farm Act was created in 1981 to protect farmers from the complaints of people from the city who moved to the country and then attempted to make it more urban with anti-farming ordinances. These new changes will affect residents of rural Michigan too. Shady Grove Farm in Gwinn, Michigan is on six and a half acres and homes 150 egg-laying hens that provide eggs to a local co-op and a local restaurant. This small Michigan farm also homes sheep for wool and a few turkeys and meat chickens to provide fresh healthy, local poultry.

Read more about this change here and here.


Rooster infertility? What’s next?!

Roosters’ fertility problem hits U.S. chicken supply, lifts prices (Reuters) – The world’s largest chicken breeder has discovered that a key breed of rooster has a genetic issue that is reducing its fertility, adding to problems constraining U.S. poultry production and raising prices at a time when beef and pork prices are already at record highs.

Chicken coop and flock for sale/adoption

Chicken coop for sale! See 


Windy City Coop Tour Hosts and Planners Needed

Get ready for the FIFTH annual Windy City Coop Tour!
Each year since 2010, Hosts have shared with Tour Visitors eager to see area coops and flocks, other critters, and backyard growing innovations.
The Tour this year is Saturday-Sunday September 20-21, from 10AM to 2PM each day.

Help to make this year’s Tour as fun, interesting, informative, and EASY — as ever!

See below and volunteer to Host, Help, or Support.

- HOST -

HOSTS: APPLY BY AUG 15 — APPLICATION online, more info below.

We seek Hosts in and around Chicago –
Host Sites should offer a good demonstration of the care of backyard poultry/livestock with a yard/arrangement that can accommodate a flow of foot traffic.
You can Host on either Sat or Sun, or both days of the Tour.
We’ll finalize the Host list by mid-August, and hold orientation for Hosts by the second week of September.

If you want to volunteer as a Host Site:
Please indicate your interest ASAP so we know who and how many Hosts are likely!
By AUGUST 15, fill out the 2014 Tour Host Site Application online. (Here’s the link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/18lKjq7cqchRkcPIKU2uFlw-ocj0m4LwIbQklpOqZ-3M/edit?usp=drive_web)
If you have any trouble accessing or completing the application, email windycitycooptour AT gmail.com.

- HELP – 
To help organize the Tour, email windycitycooptour AT gmail.com. Help is needed to:
Organize Host Site info.
Make posters, yard signs, flyers, other event materials.
GET THE WORD OUT (press releases, social media, notices, etc.)
Prep materials for Hosts.
Volunteer at Host sites as needed.
Take (and collect!) event photos.
Update CCE database info before and after the Tour.
OTHER – if you have others ideas for promotion, fun activities, anything else, let me know!

We keep Tour costs low but provide Hosts and Visitors with handouts, yard signs, and posters. We also distribute handouts at events throughout the year. Our materials budget runs about $400-500 annually. Angelic Organics Learning Center pays for the CCE website, and for my time to moderate and organize the group and events.

Any size donation is welcome to help defray costs of the Tour and CCE’s annual expenses! You can direct your donation to CCE/Windy City Coop Tour; all donations to Angelic Organics Learning Center are tax-deductible.

We welcome Event Sponsors — of the Tour AND the Urban Livestock Expo (Feb 2015). Please contact me if you are a business sponsor, or can recruit one. Event sponsors will be thanked via our promo materials and yard signs.
We also love in-kind support — contact me about anything you can offer to help out.
Tour Hosts provide a great in-kind service each year by opening up their yards and offering their time to the Tour. Others have offered their skills with social media, graphic design and printing, map making, photography, and lots of administrative support.
Several projects await volunteer research assistants in the next year — if this is your forte, let me know!


Sustainable Ag Camp at Triton College

Urban Ag Camp   July 14-17th 9am-3pm

  • Visit Chicago’s best urban farms
  • Meet leaders in the local food movement
  • Learn about jobs in the emerging green economy

Sponsored by Triton College’s new Sustainable Agriculture Technology program, this experiential 4-day summer camp is designed to provide high school students with a hands-on perspective of our local food system.  Participants will learn about opportunities in the emerging green economy through site visits to urban farms, conversations with innovative entrepreneurs, and tastings at local restaurants.  The way that we think about food and farming is being turned up-side-down.  Register now to learn more!

Taught by Nathan Wright (Triton College) and Cheryl Munoz (The Sugar Beet Coop).  Camp materials to be provided.  24hrs of class time.

COST:  Free

REGISTRATION:  Contact Triton College’s Continuing Education Department, (708) 456-0300 x 3500 and register for CMP C50 101 Sustainable Urban Agriculture Camp.  Registration is limited to 20 students, 14 to 18 years old.

FOR QUESTIONS (or to be added to our waiting list):  Contact Nathan Wright, Faculty Membernathanwright@triton.edu or (708) 456-0300 x 3073.

Home to Roost Involved in Prize-Winning Community Design

My work with Heartland Housing involved designing and installing a chicken coop for a hotel that was converted into affordable housing units. It was a fun and challenging project, and included working with the architects’ ideas of aesthetics and the hens’ need to be chickens!

The end result earned the architectural firm, Landon Bone Baker (LBBA), a first-place Driehaus Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design! Congrats to LBBA and Heartland for all the hard work on this project. It was a delight to be part of the process! 



Upcoming Events and Classes

5/24   Oak Park Conservatory: chicken keeping class: To register, call the Registration office at 708-725-2031

5/31   Oak Park Conservatory: chicken health class: To register, call the Registration office at 708-725-2031

6/21   Homewood: chicken keeping and coop building classes

6/23   Lemont: chicken keeping class

6/28   Toyota Park: Cook County 4-H Fair judge

7/21   Northlake: chicken keeping class: to Register call (708) 562-2301, ask for Adult Services.

7/26   Deerfield: chicken keeping class

7/??   Location TBD:Chicken health class with Angelic Organics Learning Center

9/20-21 Windy City Coop Tour


Need personal assistance? Check out my services page for information on housecalls and other personalized services.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 695 other followers