Are urban chickens coming to Windsor?

Monday, January 24, 2011, is going to be an important day for the local food movement in Windsor, Ontario. Proponents (and opponents) of urban chickens will be discussing in council chambers whether or not to move forward with a committee to look into permitting urban chickens or whether to scrap the idea completely.

Council originally voted to shelf urban chickens indefinitely without any public input. Despite the fact that other, much larger cities are embracing urban chickens, our councillors treated the idea of its residents providing themselves with fresh, healthy and inexpensive food as a joke. Councillor Drew Dilkens went as far as labelling the idea as “clucking ridiculous”.

That a locally elected official would treat the idea of the citizens of his city taking control of the food they eat as a joking matter is disappointing. Thankfully, another local politician is speaking up on behalf of this issue.

Federal NDP candidate, Taras Natyshak, fully supports the creation of a committee to look into this subject further. Below is a letter he recently wrote:

I write today in support of the initiative to examine the concept of urban food production, specifically the provision to examine the raising of chickens in residential areas. I am pleased that council has agreed to seek further information from interested parties and to continue dialogue towards this important idea.

It is my belief, that allowing individuals to control the source and production of their own food supply is at the very cornerstone of our sovereignty as a nation. As communities across Canada and North America struggle with the rising costs of health care delivery due to a fundamental shift in our dietary makeup, those at the forefront of tackling this epidemic are indeed studying the merits of an urban food production system similar to that of which we are discussing today.

Safe and reliable access to food sources that are grown in a healthy, ethical and environmentally sensitive way is not only the way of the future but the way of the past. Indeed the founding of this great nation relied solely on the production and the knowledge there-of, our bountiful varieties of fruits, vegetables and animal products. Agriculture production in communities across Canada literally fed industrial growth in this country.

I am confident that given the appropriate attention and consideration, the benefits of urban food production can be fully realized as a direct advantage to this region and its citizens. With proper regulation, training, guidelines and enforcement, a safe and valuable model of production can be achieved.

I thank you for your time and consideration to this matter and look forward to the next steps in making this concept a reality.


Taras Natyshak
Federal NDP Candidate