Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cluck Cluck....?

The property we were planning on doing the Quail trial run is unavailable and we need to quickly find a place to build a home for our Quail!

If you are interested in providing your backyard in Stratford visit the Facebook event page, or send an email to stratford.urban.farms@gmail.com

Thursday, March 8, 2012

SUFE's corporate sponsor

You may have noticed the increased corporate presence in SUFE posts on twitter, Facebook and this Blog.

I offer you what I hope you will see as a rational, reasonable explanation...

In May of 2011 a new Ontario Corporation was formed. Your Local Market Co-operative Inc. A workers' co-operative local grocery store/bakery/take-out restaurant.

Well... here's the deal:
Of the 20 most active Stratford Urban Farming Experiment participants, 4 are the current member-owners who founded and are now employed by Your Local Market Co-op. The conversations started in September 2010 about creating a more sustainable Stratford, Ontario by experimenting with urban farming. The conversations naturally progressed to asking how else can we make a more sustainable Stratford? and with many SUFE'rs working in seasonal and/or insecure jobs some of us started asking, how can we find sustainable year-round employment that supports our values and supports a more sustainable Stratford? 

The answer was this type of employment could not be found. It needed to be created. So, we have created it for ourselves and have recently even hired another active SUFE'r.

That makes 5 SUFE'rs employed by the new co-operative corporation (hopefully more to come). A co-operative corporation with a vision of being an important part of creating a more sustainable Stratford. And many SUFE'rs and members of the community actively supporting it.

Your Local Market Co-op is now the home of some of SUFE's stuff, including the free gardening resource library. The fundraising for SUFE will continue in June at the Slow Food market with YLMC's co-operation.

Also when I take a break from blogging, I plan on looking into ways to make SUFE a slightly more legitimate entity....

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Re: Bokyard Poultry talk

Last night there was a casual conversation about urban chickens at Your Local Market Co-op. People talked about some issues and potential problems, but generally agreed that it is possible to have urban chickens in Stratford in a safe way.

Some potential problems with having chickens include predators coming after the chickens, as well as vermin after the feed. There is not a way to eliminate these risks, but research, careful planning and cats could help reduce the occurrence. 

We spoke about how it is legal in some cities. It was also mentioned that in London, Ontario someone brought the issue to the mayor, but the mayor didn't have time to think about it. (health & safety regulations, funding for regulatory services, etc.)

As I mentioned it the most recent post on Facebook, a summary of last nights conversation was: To persuade the city to change the bylaw we should present them with evidence that it can be safe, clean, etc and offer a solution for regulating.

The engaged members of the discussion kept bringing the conversation back to - "what is Slow Food's role in this" and "what are we actually going to do about this." A lot of times discussions like this get too hypothetical so this made for a refreshing change!

The options seemed to be either to:
a) go to city hall and ask for the change (providing evidence, etc); or
b) go ahead and have a chicken coop anyway (and hope the neighbours don't complain)

However, one person in the conversation pointed out that there is a loophole in the by-laws allowing residents of Stratford to have a particular breed of quail. So it seems we need to start a pilot project...

One yard. One Coop. Share responsibility for research, set up and maintenance. Share the quail eggs to experience something new. Share a quail thanksgiving in the fall.

If we can prove that we can safely and successfully keep quail, provide examples of other cities that have urban chickens and propose a solution for regulating what choice will the city have?

March 25th is the tentative date for the building of the coop... Stay Tuned.