The following is a guest post from Jaclyn Beckner, who currently runs the "Backyard Chickens for Hagerstown" Facebook page.
HAGERSTOWN, MD - As our food costs rise and the truth about what's really in our food becomes murkier with every passing day, many folks are looking toward backyard food production. This includes vegetable gardening, fruit trees, and even raising chickens.
The local food movement has made waves across our nation, and cities/urban development areas have not been untouched by this. Why should we. as city-dwellers, be prohibited from providing the best food options we can for ourselves and our families? Why should we be required to pay higher taxes on our property but be permitted to do far less than we would be permitted elsewhere, outside the town limits?
Backyard Chickens for Hagerstown, a community page on Facebook, is a group of like-minded residents who wish to overturn the city ordinance that states chickens are illegal within the city--even if we only initially succeed at being granted a trial run for one or two years.
A proposal is being drafted, and when it's complete, we will present it to the city council.
Aware that we will face opposition by many residents and council members alike, we are working on research to see how other cities (such as Baltimore, Maryland) handle their "chicken code" so that we can model ours after theirs, tailoring it to fit Hagerstown's needs and characteristics. We are not asking that cows or sheep be permitted--that's ridiculous. We don't even need roosters. All we want is to be able to raise a small flock (no more than 4) of hens for fresh eggs and meat for ourselves and our families. Regulations and requirements will be proposed, such as minimum lot size, coop and run sizes and condition, education requirements, applications for permits, inspections, etc. This is not meant to be a plea for legalizing a nuisance--it's a plea to legalize providing the freshest, safest protein we can for our loved ones.
Would you like to join our cause? Visit www.facebook.com/chickens4hagerstown and like the page to stay updated and involved in the process.
You may also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.