Utah native Gretchen Anderson has chronicled the ruffled feathers between city leaders and backyard farmers in her book about urban chicken coops, now she’s teaching free classes this week on the basics of raising backyard chickens.
Anderson’s book The Backyard Chicken Fight, chronicles the new urban chicken-coop movement in cities across the country where urban farmers have clashed with municipalities that consider clucking chickens nuisances. In researching her book Anderson discovered quite a reversal in the role of government and the citizen chicken raiser. She refers to a 1918 poster where the government advertises the need for citizens to keep and raiser their own chickens, as evidence of how far the change has shifted.
“We’ve moved away from all of our farming roots,” Anderson says. “We’ve become metropolitan and cosmopolitan and left our food production to factory farms. As a result nobody has chickens in their backyards and nor do municipalities want to enter in that conversation.” Anderson’s love affair with organic chickens dates back to her youth in Holliday, where her family had their own chickens and she used to ride her bicycle around as a kid selling fresh eggs to her neighbors.
As an adult she gravitated easily to the topic of the urban chicken movement, and set out to write a concise history of the movement’s battles against cities whose ordinances have long since abandoned zoning for urban chickens. Anderson’s book follows the property rights vs. chicken coops battles across the country including a spotlight on the debate here in Utah. “I did chronicle Ogden,” Anderson said. “The fight got pretty ugly there.”
But beyond telling the stories Anderson is also preaching the benefits of home grown eggs, a super food that can be produced at little cost. “I think it is especially [economical] considering the quality of the egg I get out of my backyard coop,” Anderson says.
“It’s unmatched by any organic cage-free egg you can buy in the market.”
Anderson will be at hand this week—which is Chicken Week—teaching free classes on building cheap coops, warding off predators and general tips and tricks for raising your chickens from the comfort of your very own backyard.For more on what the Wasatch Gardens are doing for Chicken Week, visit their website here.
Check out Anderson's free chicken coop classes the rest of this week:
Wednesday, June 22, 7:00 p.m. Riverton Library, 12877 S. 1830 West Road Riverton
Thursday, June 23, 7:00 p.m. Magna Library, 2675 S. 8950 West Magna
Friday June 24, 4-6pm, Tyler Library Branch, 8041 S. Wood Street Midvale
Saturday, June 25, 10:15 a.m. Herriman Library 5380 W. Main Street Herriman