Thursday, June 25, 2009

Screening of Fresh Friday June 26

Wyoming Farmers' Market has arranged a showing of the movie Fresh. From the Fresh website:

Fresh celebrates the farmers and businesses who are re-inventing the American food system. Each has witnessed the rapid transformation of our agriculture into an industrial model, and confronted the consequences: food contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, and morbid obesity. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet.
Fresh features urban farmer and activist, Will Allen, the recipient of MacArthur’s 2008 Genius Award; sustainable farmer and entrepreneur Joel Salatin, made famous by Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma; and supermarket owner David Ball, challenging our Wal-Mart dominated economy.

The film will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Guy and Sandy Ashmore of That Guy's Family Farm, Warren Taylor of Snowville Creamery, Imago co-founder Jim Schenk, and Chef Mary Swartwood.

Friday, June 26th, 7:30pm, at Wyoming High School's Pendery Center, 106 Pendery Ave. $14. For map, directions, and to purchase tickets online, visit the Wyoming Farmers' Market website.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chalk Food+Wine Menu

The current menu at Chalk Food+Wine (318 Greenup Street, Covington, 41011) calls out several local farms supplying ingredients, including Carriage House Farms, Duncan Farms, Neltner Farms, Walnut Ridge Acres, Sheltowee Farms, and their own Relish garden. 

I'm really happy to see this.  It's been difficult to know which local restaurants are sourcing locally when so few menus call out their local suppliers, and seeing this information on menus is very helpful.

I had dinner last Friday with some friends, and while I don't feel qualified to do restaurant reviews, I do have to say that the Summer Bean Cassoulet (with green beans and edamame in a broth flavored with pecorino romano) on the current menu is one of the best things I've tasted in a very long time.  I think I could literally eat it every day and not get tired of it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Chicken Manifesto

Last night, the City of Montgomery's Planning Commission considered what possible exemptions to Montgomery's proposed new "Ordinance Prohibiting Farm Animals" they would recommend to City Council.

We'd done quite a bit of research to try to demonstrate to the Planning Commission that it was absolutely possible to allow chickens without causing a nuisance. Last week, we finished work on a document called "Chickens for Montgomery" and gave copies of it to City Hall to distribute to the Planning Commission and City Council.

I am happy to report that the Planning Commission voted 5 - 1 (one member of the 7-member commission was not in attendance) to recommend the zoning/land use codes be revised to allow up to 6 chickens, no roosters, with chickens required to be contained and enclosures required to be no closer than 15 feet to property lines. We feel this is a very fair outcome, and provides an excellent basis for allowing Montgomery residents to keep chickens while still addressing possible concerns from the rest of the community.

We aren't sure how likely City Council is to accept this recommendation. They have no requirement to do so, I don't think, so we do still need to show them there's support for this. But I am feeling very positive, and very grateful to the Planning Commission for taking what I think is an extremely open-minded approach to the question. I'm sure most of them probably originally thought, when City Council first asked them to consider this issue, that of course Montgomery wouldn't want to allow chickens. But they really listened to us, and last night spent a very long time discussing what additional restrictions might be needed and which possible issues could be addressed by current ordinances regarding noise, odors, setbacks, etc. They asked questions, and they were very fair in considering our responses. For instance, their initial idea for limiting the number of chickens was 4, but when we told them that most day-old chicks could only be sold in quantities of six, they changed their motion to allow up to 6 chickens.

The document -- which my husband is calling my 'Chicken Manifesto' -- is unfortunately at 12MB too large to be uploaded to any free file-sharing sites, but I've got it in both a .pdf file and a Word 2008 file, so if anyone wants a copy, please email me and tell me which version you'd like me to email you. (If you don't have Word 2008, I'd recommend asking for the .pdf file, as converting it to Word 2004 causes significant formatting changes which make the document much less usable.)

And if anyone has server space and would like to host this document so that it can be downloaded and used as a template by other chicken-keeping groups trying to change their town's laws, let me know! Anyone interested in using it for their own efforts on behalf of chicken-keepers should feel free to do so with my blessing. My sincere thanks to Chickens In The Yard, whose own similar document provided a template from which to work.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Locavore Dinner Series at Nectar

 Nectar (1000 Delta Ave, 45208) is offering another Locavore series of dinners. 

  • June 25 & July 23: The Delicate Sweetness of Berries with Vicky Tewes, Thistlehair Farm, Union Kentucky.  The June dinner will feature bluerberries and the July dinner will feature blackberries. 
    August 13 & August 20: Peaches, the Flavor of Summer with Beiersdorfer Orchard, Southeastern Indiana. 
  • September 10 & 17: Chiles, A Spicy Harvest with Nancy Ogg, Shady Grove Farm, Corinth Kentucky.
All dinners start at 7pm.  $55 per person.  For reservations, call 929-0525.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Slow Food Potluck

Slow Food Cincinnati and Gorman Heritage Farm (10052 Reading Road, Evendale 45241) are offering a potluck lunch to celebrate the late spring bounty on Saturday, June 13th. They ask those interested to stop by their local farmers market that morning (here's a link to CORV, which lists farmers' markets on a given day) and make a seasonal dish to share with the group.

The event will start at 1PM for those interested in a farm tour and 2:30PM for the pot luck. $8 for admission and tour/$5 for general admission to the farm with no tour. For more details or to RSVP, email Laura.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Chicken-Keeping and Property Values

I've been doing a lot of research on chicken-keeping in Greater Cincinnati over the past few weeks since the City of Montgomery proposed an ordinance prohibiting 'farm animals' (including a few backyard chickens) on lots of less than three acres. As I'm hard pressed to think of even a single noncommercial property of three acres that isn't city-owned, this effectively will prohibit residents from keeping backyard chickens.

As one of the key issues for a lot of folks seems to be whether or not chicken-keeping will hurt property values, I started there. Here's what I've found:

Communities which allow chicken-keeping tend to have HIGHER property values than those that prohibit it.
Here's the data (please do call any mistakes to my attention -- this is the best I could determine from various communities' ordinances as posted online):

Chicken-Keeping Ordinances*
2007 Average Home Sales Price**
Indian Hill
Terrace Park
Generally Permit
$ 400K
$ 345K
Generally Permit
$ 326K
Symmes Township
$ 313K
Generally Permit (currently)
$ 297K
Generally Permit
$ 288K
Generally Permit
$ 274K
Essentially Prohibit
$ 213K
Generally Permit
$ 212K
Blue Ash
Case by Case***
$ 202K
Generally Permit
$ 174K
Essentially Prohibit
$ 166K
Sycamore Township
Essentially Prohibit
$ 165K
$ 157K
Generally Permit
$ 152K
Essentially Prohibit
$ 144K
$ 131K
Deer Park
Generally Permit
$ 130K
Essentially Prohibit
$ 127K
St Bernard
Generally Permit
$ 124K
$ 119K
Mt Healthy
Essentially Prohibit
$ 116K
* Generally Permit: chicken keeping is allowed under minor restrictions intended to prevent chickens from becoming a nuisance. Restricted: chicken-keeping is allowed, but ordinances will prevent a significant number of residents from keeping chickens. Essentially Prohibit: chickens are allowed under such profound restrictions as to prevent most residents from keeping chickens.
** Source:
*** Blue Ash requires "suburban farms" practicing "poultry husbandry" to have at least five acres, but they don't define "poultry husbandry." The city compliance inspector I asked about this said that a few backyard chickens would likely be handled on a case-by-case basis if there were complaints.

Now, I'd never use this data to argue that keeping chickens actually raises property values, but it certainly doesn't prove the opposite, either.

Montgomery is giving their proposed ordinance its second of three required public readings at tomorrow's meeting (Wednesday June 3, 7:00, 10101 Montgomery Rd) if anyone would like to attend, if only to provide evidence that I'm not just the Crazy Chicken Lady of Montgomery. The last meeting I attended started right on time and ended at 7:35, so there's not a huge time commitment to showing your support for suburban chicken-keeping!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Vote for America's Favorite Farmers' Market

American Farmland Trust is running a "Favorite Farmers' Market" contest. See if your market is listed (or download a flyer for to give to the farmers' market manager if it isn't) and then vote for your favorite market. Top vote getters in for small, medium, and large farmers' markets will win inning farmers' markets will receive No Farms No Food totebags to use in customer giveaways.

Currently NO local farmers' markets are listed, so get going and dowload those flyers to give to your favorite markets' manager this week.

Monday, June 1, 2009

CORV Eat Local Food Guide 2009

The Central Ohio River Valley (CORV) Eat Local Food Guide 2009 is hot off the presses and now available for pickup at locations around town.  For now it's available at the Whole Foods and College Hill Farmers' Markets, but the list of locations will grow in the next few weeks. 

The Eat Local Food Guide, expanded for its second year, lists farms, farmers' markets, vineyards & wineries, restaurants sourcing locally, and farm markets in the tri-state area.