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Sunday Poll: Two Questions on Urban Food Production

August 28, 2016 Environment, Featured, Sunday Poll 2 Comments
Please vote below
Please vote below

A number of things online recently got me thinking about urban food production:

City and suburban agriculture takes the form of backyard, roof-top and balcony gardening, community gardening in vacant lots and parks, roadside urban fringe agriculture and livestock grazing in open space. (USDA)

One of the things that got me thinking about this was a Facebook post by Ald Cara Spencer, which included a link to a local survey on policy:

St. Louis Food Policy Coalition wants to hear from you about your interest in growing food in the city!

We want to learn from St. Louis residents 1) what you and your neighbors are already growing, 2) what types of agriculture activities you would like to see in the city, and 3) how you would like those activities to be regulated. (SLU)

Because of the range of topics, I decided this deserves two questions today.

Question #1

Question #2

Please respond to both before they close at 8pm. If you haven’t already, please also respond to the survey mentioned above.

— Steve Patterson



Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    The problem with the first question is that one size does not fit every situation. You can reasonably raise chickens or rabbits in a backyard in Soulard or Lindenwood Park, but the impacts on adjacent properties would be far greater in a loft building downtown. It’s a zoning question that needs to be tied to density, housing type and/or business use, not one that is tied to just being a resident of the city (like being allowed to keep pets, like dogs or cats).

  2. Mark-AL says:

    I was born on a farm and lived there 18 years before leaving for college. Raising animals is always a time-consuming effort and even sometimes fills all 24 hours of the day. I was given my first task to feed the goats at age 3. It was my job, and I was expected to do it. We raised goats and pigs, and we always owned a few dairy cows and a bull, and a few yard chickens….and a yard rooster. During my tenure on the farm, we owned 40 acres, leased another 40 acres from an adjacent landowner. There are so many negatives associated with trying to raise livestock in a confined, city environment, I almost don’t know where to begin.
    1) Animals create odor–foul odor. Buck goats piss on their own faces and emit a peculiar odor (one like you might not smell from any other animal). They do this to impress their doe. Without a buck, you won’t yield much cheese from your nannies!!!! Pigs are clean. In fact, in a confined space they’ll even keep the pen clean. But there are few animals that emit crap that compares with the odor of pig crap. You can smell it 3 city blocks away! Chickens? They’re fairly clean, but their coops require regular cleaning. If it doesn’t happen, you’ll create an odor issue–like you’ve probably never before smelled. And a dirty coop results in unhealthy chickens, small eggs or no eggs! But chickens are noisy, because the rooster likes to brag about his past and anticipated conquests. But without the rooster, you won’t get many eggs!!!! Sheep are much like goats. But they scream and throttle–so they’re noisy. Dairy cows need lots of land to supplement their food supply because grass-fed beef (grass and alfalfa mix) is the most tender and tasty. A cow needs 2-5 acres per cow to graze. Otherwise she will have to be fed 30-45# of hay per day. Right now, hay is selling for around $175.00/ton. It doesn’t take long to go through 1 ton of hay….and it has to be protected so it doesn’t rot in the rain and sun. Plus, dirty farms attract rats and mice….so it’s important to keep the farm clean. Cleaning the farm doesn’t happen on its own.
    Goats require a bath twice a week. I started bathing our goats when I was five. I was pissed on, bitten and bucked and rammed into the water trough many times, especially before I got older and started fighting back. What I’m getting at is that raising farm animals is a full time job. It’s not like planting carrots and waiting around for the yield. And if the animals are neglected, not only is it inhumane, but veterinarian fees are expensive! I’ve slept in the barn many nights when one of our animals required observation and attention. And in Elberta AL, the nights are hot and humid, and barns aren’t cooled. Lots of mosquitoes. My youngest brother, who now runs the family farm, earned a master’s degree in Animal Sciences, where he learned nutrition, physiology, biotechnology, animal management, animal husbandry. and so much more. His knowledge and experienced has allowed my parents’ farm to expand and become much more profitable and a more humane environment for the animals. Raising farm animals requires dedication, experience, a love of animals and a 24 hour daily commitment. I would object strongly if STL were to seriously consider this silly idea of allowing “city folk” to raise……and especially to live around…… farm animals.


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