3R – Urban production encouraged

Supporting article R: Seattle is a city that leads by example when it comes to empower its residents to provide for themselves.


Seattle City Council approves urban farm and community garden legislation improving access to locally grown food

SEATTLE – As part of the 2010 Year of Urban Agriculture, the Seattle City Council approved Council Bill 116907 that supports the rapidly growing local food movement. The ordinance updates the City’s Land Use code governing urban agriculture uses, including allowing “urban farms” and “community gardens” in all zones, with some limitations in industrial zones. Also, residents will now be able to sell food grown on their property.
“These code changes will strengthen our community food security,” said Council President Richard Conlin, sponsor of the ordinance. “This is one more action that supports the goals of the Local Food Action Initiative: increases opportunities for Seattle residents to purchase and grow healthy food in the city.”

“This is an exciting time to be an urban farmer,” said Nicole Jain Capizzi, owner of Amaranth Urban Farm in Rainier Beach. “I recently moved to Seattle to start an urban farm and am encouraged by the City’s on-going actions that strengthen Seattle’s food system.”

This legislation formally recognizes Farmer’s markets allowing them in more areas of Seattle. The ordinance also allows dedicated food production on rooftop greenhouses with a 15 foot exemption to height limits in a variety of higher density zones.

“The code changes related to rooftop greenhouses are a bold step toward high-yield food production in an urban environment,” stated Branden Born, Associate Professor of Urban Design and Planning at University of Washington. “The Seattle City Council is again on the forefront of initiatives that show a true commitment to improving access to healthy food.”

The legislation improves the number of chickens allowed per lot from three to eight, with additional chickens allowed for large lots associated with community gardens and urban farms. The legislation prohibits new roosters and sets boundaries for chicken coops, ten feet away from primary residential structures. Existing chicken coops built prior to the code changes will remain legal.

Urban Chickens
Ever dream of collecting eggs for breakfast from your own chickens? Many people don’t believe it possible to have this experience in the city, but laying hens’ small space requirements and pleasant dispositions make them a wonderful addition to any backyard. Managing your own chickens in the city is an extremely rewarding experience. You’ll have a source of fresh, nutritious eggs right out your back door; and the satisfaction of knowing that your hens are fed a healthy, well-balanced diet and have plenty of space to roam and eat bugs, weeds, and grass. Chickens make a great pair with a garden, as they love to eat your vegetable scraps and leftover greens. Chicken care is a fun and educational experience for children, and will give them a connection to their food that they’ll never forget.

Chickens don’t require much space for a happy and healthy life. The more space you provide for them, the better; but 3 laying hens can live comfortably (with plenty of room for scratching, exploring, and roosting) in a 3 by 10 foot space. Many people are concerned that a chicken coop will have a strong odor, but a properly managed coop has almost no smell other than that of fresh straw.

If you’re interested in having a chicken coop in your yard, we offer services ranging from planning and design to installations to monthly maintenance. We’re happy to help you learn how to manage and care for your hens, and can provide you with local sources for organic feed and bedding.

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