And Hey, Since Everyone Is Already Talking About Eggs and Chickens...


...let's not forget that if you want to really be sure that the eggs you're getting are free from the taint of both big, industrial producers and, of course, salmonella, you do have a choice. You can make your own.

Or rather, you can get some chickens and have the chickens make their own, just for you.

As I'm sure all of you urban farmers out there already know, a couple weeks back, the Seattle City Council passed amendments to a bunch of city ordinances which made it both easier and less totally illegal to do things like grow crops, raise chickens and keep beehives within Seattle city limits. Some of the important changes that were made:

Urban farms (as defined by section 23.42.051, in case you're interested) of up to 4,000 square feet are now "permitted outright." You want your backyard farming operation to grow beyond 4,000 square feet, you have to go and get a conditional use permit.

You want to put a greenhouse up on the roof of your highrise? That's okay now, too. Provided it doesn't extend more than 15 feet above the legal height limit for your structure.

Urban farms are permitted in just about every residential zone I can think of, as are community gardens and "horticulture" operations (with some restrictions).

Some rules were laid down for the advent of "vertical farming" (that is, a farm running inside a building--like a skyscraper that grows corn and soybeans on all the floors), which, as far as I know, is pretty rare and forward-thinking of the city.

And finally, yes, the chickens. Under the new rules, people may now keep up to eight chickens (but no roosters) in their backyard, with no lot size requirement other than the coops must be kept ten feet away from any other lot in the residential zone. This is up from three, which was where the law used to stand. In addition to domestic fowl, a brave urban pioneer may have one miniature pot belly pig (under 150 pounds), four beehives (with one swarm), and/or up to four miniature goats. Yeah, seriously. You can keep pygmy goats in your backyard. And if you want, you can probably make the chickens ride them.

Anyway, eight chickens is a good number. Eight laying hens will produce all the eggs you could possibly need for your own consumption, so if you're really getting freaked out about this whole egg recall thing, now you have an option. And if you want to throw some goats and bees and a pig into the mix, too? Well, that's your business.

Though if you're seriously considering this, you might want to talk to your neighbors first. And check out the full text of the new ordinance right here, just so you know what your rights are.

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