(Moncton, February 24, 2011) – Urban agriculture is an effective way to increase food security and enhance self-sufficiency in the Greater Moncton. That is the central conclusion of a pilot project conducted over a one year period by Post Carbon Greater Moncton, a local group that aims to help the community reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. The project involved converting an urban residential property into a small-scale farm, including the keeping of 4 egg-laying hens.
According to Michel Desjardins, spokesperson for Post Carbon Greater Moncton, the pilot project is one more step towards more self-sufficiency and food security in the region. “We think food security and self-sufficiency will be huge issues in the future. This pilot project is one of a broad range of public policy initiatives that cities can adopt to enhance our food sovereignty” he said.
In its report, the group says there are many reasons why city dwellers want to consider urban farming. An increasing number of people want to know where their food comes from and want to produce their own. Others want to mitigate risks associated with higher food prices in the future, a direct consequence of higher energy prices. Finally, some worry about the impact of the modern agri-food industry on the environment.
While citizens in the region have long been involved in small-scale gardening or even community gardening, what has gained a lot of attention recently throughout North America are urban chickens. Today, urban chickens are allowed in unexpected places like New York City, Oakland, San Francisco, Houston, Chicago, Seattle and Portland, Ore. In Canada, Niagara Falls, Brampton, Guelph, Vancouver, Victoria and Surrey allow backyard chickens in one form or another.
The urban farm was run by Anne-Marie Laroche and Isabelle Pineault in one of Moncton’s residential neighborhoods. “From our point of view, the project has been extremely positive. On average, the four hens produced 3.3 eggs per day, which represents almost 2 dozens eggs per week,” said Anne-Marie Laroche.
The group says the neighbors, who all gave their consent at the beginning of the project and were consulted through an independent survey at the end, also considered the project very successful.
The survey has revealed that the neighbors have noticed no unusual noises or odors that could be attributable to the pilot project.
The group goes on to recommend a new bylaw to regulate urban chickens, including a limit of 4 chickens and a ban on roosters. “Keeping any kind of animal is an important responsibility and the activity should be carefully regulated. In our report, we are putting forward many recommendations in this regard,” said