The 2015 Tour features coops in fifteen of Chicago’s 50 wards, including residential backyards, a Montessori school, and a garden center. Hosts’ addresses and information about their coops and flocks are compiled as 2015 Tour Site Info for Visitors on the Chicagoland Chicken Enthusiasts’ Windy City Coop Tour page, along with the link to the online 2015 Tour Map.
Tour visitors can see and hear about hosts’ experiences raising chickens in the city, both the practical realities and many creative options. In Edgewater, host Junaid Butt and his family keep a diverse flock of 16 chickens representing 11 breeds with names like Blue-Laced Red Barnevelder and Chocolate Cuckoo Orpington. Chickens are at the heart of Suder Montessori’s school garden in West Town. Coordinator Theresa Buffo explains, “Our hope is Suder students will become skillful and knowledgeable gardeners and ecologically responsible citizens. We look forward to hosting the Tour because we want more people to become urban farmers/chicken enthusiasts, especially school gardeners.”
Many city-dwelling poultry keepers have integrated their coops with gardening, composting, rainwater harvesting, and other demonstrations of backyard food production and sustainable urban lifestyles. West Woodlawn chicken keeper Monica Brown says, “I enjoy helping to expand people’s notions about where food comes from. It’s better and cheaper for us in the long run than supporting food production practices that do not consider animal welfare and the welfare of the earth that produces our food.”
The Windy City Coop Tour is organized by Angelic Organics Learning Center and Chicagoland Chicken Enthusiasts, a network of local poultry keepers and their allies. 2015 Tour sponsors include Home to Roost Urban Chicken Consulting, and Belmont Feed & Seed, Inc. The Learning Center will again offer its comprehensive Basic Backyard Chicken Care workshop on November 7, with Home to Roost Instructor Jen Murtoff.