CBC News and others report that Kristina Calhoun has spent the last 3 years on a long, painful saga:
- Raising her own chickens;
- Her flock is accused of being noisy neighbours
- By-law Enforcement Officer bans her chicken
- Losing her flock
- Fighting for a more tolerant By-law, and
- Getting official approval for her new flock.
Kristina also happens to be the leader of the Green Party in Yukon. In the Green Party's policies, they clearly support sustainable, affordable, nutritious food for Canadians.
It is interesting that when City Council was debating the current and proposed By-law, some felt that the permission of neighbours should be obtained before someone is allowed to have chickens within city suburbs. Kristina rightfully responded:
"That's unrealistic and unfair. I just think, you know, nobody had to come to me and ask if they could have a dog, nobody had to come to me and ask if they could have a cat, tune up their ATV in their yard and have exhaust and noise - nobody comes and knocks on my door and asks 'Oh, is it okay if I start up my leaf blower now?' It just seems a little bit much."In the Yukon-News coverage of this victory, Kristina reminds people what happens when food trucks can't make it up the Yukon Highway due to weather or other issues. Food security for Kristina and her family is important. She said,
"I think its really important that municipal, federal, and territorial governments remove as many boundaries as they can to allow people to be as self-sufficient as they can, especially in an isolated community like this.”
Kristina eventually wants to be able to raise meat birds during the summer, and layers year-round. That will require another By-law change.
Kristina waxes on about the mini local food economy that has flowered and flourished in the neighbourhood. One neighbour bakes bread, which are exchanged for eggs. Backyard vegetables could also come into the mix soon enough from another neighbour's backyard greenhouse.
The Yukon has a portable abattoir for processing chickens in all the remote communities. Kristina helped process 220 chickens in a Saturday afternoon; now food in citizen's freezers, ready for winter.
Ontario, as a "Have-Not" province, doesn't have portable abattoirs to service its Small Flockers in remote and Northern communities. Hopefully we can soon be successful enough as a Province so we can afford portable abattoirs too.
In a previous post (see Health Consequences of Food Monopolies ), I Blogged about the 28% food insecurity in Nunavut, a neighbouring territory to Yukon. In Nunavut, 75% of pre-school children don't get to eat on any particular day due to food insecurity.
Backyard chicken could help make those sad statistics a thing of the past.
A tip of the hat to Kristina and all others like her who struggle on for years, fighting for their rights, and the greater good of the people. It isn't an easy battle, but it's worthwhile.