Food Fights


100% fat-free photo.

I thought I would post this photo that E.g. took while we were in Paris, as an antidote to yesterday’s chicken soup recipe.

I’ve been doing a little background research before writing up a book report on Laugh-in-the-Sun Alyson Hill’s book, Chooks in the City.  I used to be amazed when I would learn that certain colours or fabrics were forbidden to the lower classes*, but I’m finding that our own era has its share of arbitrary snobbery and repression.

For example, here in Toronto, you can own “sport” pigeons in your backyard but not laying hens. The message? Gambling is good; fresh eggs are bad. In the Maritimes, there has been a kerfuffle as governmental fingers have been wagged at suburban chicken owners, warning them that their birds might catch and spread avian flu, even though any cases of it have all appeared in factory farms. The message? Support agribusiness; discourage self-sufficiency.

With the recent growing interest in eating locally, maybe things in Canada will change for the better; instead of saying NO chickens, city bylaws could state a maximum NUMBER of chickens, just as they do dogs and cats.

Meanwhile, in Australia and certain American cities, people can and do keep hens, sometimes in the cutest little mobile coops. Alyson’s dad has had chickens in Canberra for almost thirty years, and Alyson has kept “chooks” for a few years now herself. Tomorrow I’ll (be able to photograph and) tell you a little more about the book she’s written.

* In the 1960s you could blow your mind while wearing purple corduroy. In the Middle Ages you could lose your head for it.

7 Responses to Food Fights

  1. jamesviscosi says:

    When my wife was little her family kept chickens and other livestock type animals on Long Island. I think if we tried that here though the homeowners’ association would have something to say about it … 😦

  2. livingisdetail says:

    I would love to keep chooks. I did have ducks once who were pets and being two boy ducks we didn’t have any eggs. They were just beautiful to watch and they kept the garden pests at bay.

    The only thing that worries me about chooks is that they can attract snakes.

  3. Alyson says:

    Barbara Kingsolver wrote a very interesting book called ‘Animal, Vegetable, Miracle’ which is a real eye opener about US food production and the importance of self sufficiency or supporting the small growers that allow us to eat locally produced food. Really worth a look and certainly food for thought.

    Livingisdetails, from what I know snakes come for mice, which come for food – so I guess it all comes down to how you manage the chookfeed…I use those Oscar-the Grouch garbage bins. Of course, if you mean tropical Australian python’s…that’s out of my scope of experience 🙂

  4. Alyson says:

    Oh, and I LOVE this fat free photo – especially the different facial expression of your peeps in the reflection! Mmmmmfat free photos….

  5. lavenderbay says:

    Were I your neighbour, James, I would probably draw the line at Texas Longhorns or wild boars too — but a couple of hens? They don’t bark as loud as dogs, and won’t crap on the neighbour’s lawns, so, like… eh?

    Maybe I can interest you in a good introductory book on suburban Australian chook-keeping, Livingisdetail… But good thing you asked about the snakes; maybe Alyson can add that to the next edition.

    I’ve just read an excerpt of Kingsolver’s book, Alyson. Thanks for the recommendation! Oh, and E.g. took maybe 1500 photos in Paris, but so far has uploaded only a dozen of them onto Flickr; luckily the shop-window pic was one.

  6. I live in a rural area of Hawaii in a district zoned for agriculture. That means we’re allowed — even encouraged — to keep/raise animals, vegetables, fruit trees, etc. The exception: no pigs allowed! We grow vegetables and fruit — enough for ourselves, with some left over to trade with neighbors for things they grow that we don’t. Given the ever-rising prices of food these days, adding some chickens to the operation is beginning to sound like a good idea.


  7. lavenderbay says:

    No home-grown luaus? It’s true, though, fresh pig manure really does reek. That’s a great thing, being able to barter your produce with your neighbours. Let me know if you decide to take the Chicken Challenge!

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