Do you live in a city and want to raise chickens, ducks, or turkeys? In most cities in the US there are livestock ordinances that dictate whether you are allowed to raise poultry, or do not. You can do a quick search on the internet for your city’s animal ordinance. That ordinance will let you know if you can have fowl, and what you need to do in order to keep them; this may include permits, coop specifications, if certain fowl are allowed or not (roosters), and the consequences for not following the ordinance.
My experience with urban farming has been very enjoyable, even in the winter when we have to trek through freezing temperatures, wind, sleet and snow. Every morning before I get ready to go let the chickens and ducks out of their coops I look out my kitchen window and see them eagerly awaiting my presence. Our pet chickens, ducks, muscovy, quail, and turkeys bring me joy. They each have their own personalities, likes and dislikes. The best thing is the eggs. They are beautiful, green, blue, cream colored shells with rich orange colored yolks. I find that the eggs are better quality and taste like real eggs versus the eggs you buy at the grocery store. Chickens and ducks do not lay much or at all during the winter. From my experience you will most likely have to buy eggs in the winter.
Urban farming also involves growing your own food. Whether you want a strawberry patch or grow your own vegetables. The possibilities are endless! But beware! If you use your own compost for the soil in your garden beds, be prepared to have unplanned plants grow in your neatly planted beds. The best practice for finding out what can grow in your area is to research where your city is on the Plant Hardiness Zone Map. This tool will help you learn what plants will do well in your area. If you want to really get into Urban Farming, do a soil test. You can buy these at Lowe’s or Amazon. These will tell you the composition of your soil and help you level out the playing field so to speak, when it comes to what nutrients are needed for your crops to thrive.
If you are planning on selling your crops at a local farmer’s market, I would recommend looking into your state’s Cooperative Extension office and seeing if they have any classes you can take on the Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and take it! It will be very informational about the correct way to harvest crops as well as the do’s and don’ts for what you can and cannot sell. I would also look into any classes they may offer, there are also grants out there to offer agricultural classes for free. I would highly recommend looking into your state’s Cooperative Extension office for classes in general. Knowledge is power.
I hope you enjoyed reading my perspective and personal experiences on urban farming. If you have any questions and want to talk about how to start up your own Urban Farm, please feel free to send me an email and I can give you helpful advice. I am by no means an expert!
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/ Retrieved February 17 2016.