Earlier today, the Kansas City City Council changed the rules regarding back yard chickens. They changed the provision that didn't allow chickens within 100 feet of neighbors (which, frankly, made owning them in many neighborhoods impossible) to allowing them within 100 feet of neighbors, as long as the neighbors consented.
To protect some concerns, they put in provisions to allow for inspections, mandate proper disposal of manure, and (unfortunately) prohibits the onsite sale of eggs. (Last year, the city allowed for the on-premise sale of garden vegetibles. I have no idea why selling tomatoes at my house is ok, but eggs is not).
The move by the council is another step forward for urban agriculture in the city - and I applaud the city for taking positive steps forward in this regard. It is no secret that Kansas City's urban core has a lot of abandoned lots that can be put to good use -- and much of the urban core is in what the USDA has termed "Food Deserts" -- where there is limited access to fresh food. Allowing for alterantive uses for these empty lots, as well as providing another urban food sources, is a solid way of solving both problems.
Meanwhile, some cities, such as Birmingham, are combining the urban gardening, the problem with food deserts, the abundance of empty lots, and children who have become increasingly far removed from their food supply, and started teaching urban gardening in schools -- with very good early success.
KCUR's Jabulani Lefall on his morning radio program Central Standard has also been tackling this subject this week -- where yesterday he interviewed local youth that were also doing local, urban food production.
So here's to Kansas City's City Council, at least the majority of them, seeing the positive side of urban farming and again relaxing rules and making it easier for these small, urban farmers.