I never thought I’d be one to consider raising livestock. After all, my visits to working farms over the years evoked a deep respect and a deeper understanding that it was not the life for me. Who wants to get up at 5am every morning–rain, shine or sleet–to tend to the livestock after all. And, from big animals comes big poop. Nope. Not the life for me.
But, in my quest to understand Creation Care, I’ve begun to appreciate the unique relationship between human and animal. Respect and appreciation replaced laziness.
I’m trying to convince Vicki, my wife, to reach way back to her family’s farming roots and get some chickens. They are sustainable! They eat your scraps, they produce food almost daily (eggs, that is) and their waste makes wonderful compost. There are countless resources for those considering raising chickens in an urban environment: http://www.madcitychickens.com/index.html, http://www.urbanfarmstore.com/, http://www.pistilsnursery.com/.
Did you know that more than 50 percent of bee populations have disappeared? Honey and bumble bees are critical to agricultural success. Without pollination, we’d be nowhere. Besides that, honey is one of the most amazing creations of God as far as food is considered. It is antibacterial, full of natural antioxidants and lasts forever (due to its natural preservatives). Oh, and as a bonus, you women may care to know that honey is hygroscopic, meaning it helps keep skin hydrated and fresh as it pulls moisture out of the air… (http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/honey-properties.html) Quite the product! Many people I know are so amazed by the product of the honeybee that they’ve taken it upon themselves to help preserve the creature. They’re easy to care for and help to keep our plants healthy and productive while also providing delicious honey for our consumption. Great local blog: http://www.chelseagreen.com/content/urban-apiculture-or-bees-in-the-city-draft/. I hope to get my own honeybees sometime soon…
Now, if you’re feeling ambitious, urban goats could be exciting. They produce milk, which I don’t have to tell you is an important component of a healthy diet. Somehow, I couldn’t picture a little goat hanging out in our backyard, especially with the coyotes we have around. But, to each their own. http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2008/10/keeping_goats_make_sure_fence.html. They do cut down on landscape management, to be sure.
I admire anyone who takes the plunge into urban farming!