Monday, October 4, 2010

Our View - Urban chicken issue not going away in Iowa City

Printed in the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Feb. 16, 2010.

Iowa City residents' discussion of urban chickens is going to go on whether the Iowa City Council takes up the issue or not. That's because the New Pioneer Food Co-op is going to host two free public forums on the topic next month ("Urban chicken debate returns," Feb. 11).

At this point, it seems that there are not enough City Council votes to revive the chicken discussion ("Chickens lacking council's support," Feb. 12). We've previously editorialized that "the council is chicken when it comes to chickens" and pointed out that, with hundreds of petitioners asking the council to consider the issue, councilors should be responsive.

Our guess is that there is going to be far more clucking about this whole thing because the council won't take up the issue than there would be if it just made a decision, one way or the other.

New Pioneer education and member services manager Theresa Carbrey said the co-op is trying to encourage more local food production.

"This is as local as it can get -- in your own backyard," she said.

The first forum titled "Raising Urban Chickens" will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. March 2 at the Coralville co-op. It will feature speaker Misha Goodman, director of the Iowa City/Coralville Animal Care and Adoption Center. She will offer tips raising urban chickens.

The second forum titled "We Love Backyard Chickens" will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. March 11 at the Coralville co-op. It will feature speakers Stacey Driscoll and Alicia Diehl of IC Friends of Urban Chickens. A pro-urban chicken event, it will look at the joys and challenges of urban chickening.

We suggest the council commit to taking this issue back up within the next year, put it to a vote and then move on.

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