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Check out this video that we made while on site at Trinity Reach Farm!
Who would have thought, three 20-something housemates, living in a two-storey home within a bustling city would be cultivating and making their own delicious foods right in their own backyard? Nestled between the streets of Downtown Toronto, three restaurant employees have come together and formed what is known as, Trinity Reach Farm. Hidden behind a typical looking house, the Vidafine team was astonished to discover a backyard with sprouting vegetables, a ‘Big Smoke’ smoker and wait for it… a chicken coop. The team at Trinity Reach Farm isn’t here to present anything revolutionary, they are just looking to use their talents and interests to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Ultimately, producing your own foods is fun, and enjoying the fruits of your own labour definitely tastes better!
Fascinated by food and food creation, Paul, Dave and Jacob first started planting their own herb garden on the rooftop of their current rental home. When their landlord asked them to get off the roof, they moved their operations to the back of the house. Touring their space, rows of cabbage, tomatoes and a variety of other veggies cover about half of their backyard.
The other half is space left for three chickens bought for $7 each from a supplier in Elmira, Ontario. They’ve also built a large wooden smoker used to smoke fish and meats beside their garden.
Their operations indoors include crafting their own beer and cider, various types of cheeses made using a homemade press and curing meats and sausages with what used to be a mini wine fridge. Their shelves also line with their own pickled vegetables and preserves. Yum!
Maintenance for their garden and indoor operations are familiar to most people, but what individuals find most astounding when they hear that chickens live in Paul, Dave and Jacob’s backyard is how they manage to take care of them!
One problem does exist however. In Toronto, it is currently illegal to raise livestock within the city. Interesting enough though, if no neighbours complain about the chickens, Trinity Reach Farm can continue doing what they’ve been doing. Based on what Jacob has told us, no one has complained thus far, as the chickens are relatively quiet, especially in the evenings.
In local Canadian news, Vancouver, the Green Capital, recently legalized Backyard Chickens in June of 2010. After a year of investigation and inquiry, city councilors approved a law allowing hen-owners to register their hens! Just like how dogs and cats can be registered under city by-laws, hens can now be considered a legal pet in Vancouver. The city is setting aside $20,000 in their budget to build an ‘abandoned hen’ house to raise and nurture ‘lost’ hens back to health. While there are no doubt concerns about raising hens as pets, clearly if a major environmentally forward city like Vancouver has their own city council convinced that this is a sustainable idea, why can’t Toronto? Here’s a sampling of their advantages:
- 2 hens produce a dozen eggs a week (do YOU even eat that many eggs in a week?)
- hens are cheap ($7 per hen - even if the big bad wolf snatches one away, it’s not going to break the bank)
- their waste provides for great natural fertilizer (fertilizer is expensive, I don’t garden but my parents do)
- hens only make any noise during the early morning (but they aren’t louder than dogs *cluck*)
- they are no harder to maintain than a regular pet (much like a cat : feed, clean litter tray, rinse, repeat)
- all your friends will want to visit you and your hen pets
So what can you do? It’s great to hear of people being entirely sustainable on their egg-consumption and fertilizer-use. Chickens in a backyard? It’s a fun story to tell your friends. If you want it for yourself though, I say go for it. If someone can maintain backyard chickens in a house situated within the hustle and bustle of downtown Toronto, you can do it in your residence wherever you live. I’d love to write some articles about ‘Balcony Chickens’ or ‘Chickens on da Roof’ even!
Contact your local city councilor today and let them know about this article! Hopefully we can move closer to what sustainability really means! (If you plan on getting a project similar to this one started in your area, let the Vidafine team know and we would love to come out and check it out!) Let’s go Chickens, Let’s go!
If you are interested in seeing more photos, visit the Vidafine Flickr page!
For anyone who is interested, check out Pretty Yummie for a recap of a dinner that Vidafine attended in the Trinity Reach Farm dining room!