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Show your support for urban agriculture and food security

Marc Lefkowitz  |  12/03/08 @ 12:32pm

Tonight's public meeting on the city of Cleveland's proposed law to let property owners raise chickens and tend bees is a crucial time to show support for urban agriculture and food security.

Among the ranks of supporters, Carl Skalak, owner of Blue Pike Farm, a working farm in the city of Cleveland, describes what you can do to help if you can't come to the meeting and show your support:

It's down to the homestretch for Cleveland's Ordinance 1562-08- Restrictions on the Keeping of Farm Animals and Bees.

The city planning commission has forwarded the legislation for City Council's approval. However, the fate of the legislation is at this point uncertain. The legislation needs 11 affirmative votes for passage. Your assistance could be crucial to the effort. If you are in support of this effort we need your help. Things you can do: Cleveland residents can call, write or e-mail your council representative; or do all three. Here's the link to the council directory: If you call, tell the person who answers that you are calling to ask for you representative's support of proposed legislation:Ordinance 1562-08- Restrictions on the Keeping of Farm Animals and Bees. Additionally, ask your rep to help by trying to persuade their more reluctant colleagues to support the legislation too. You rarely will actually speak to your representative, but the aide handling your call should note your support and collect the information about the call. Writing an old fashioned snail mail letter may have the biggest impact of all, since phone calls and emails are so much easier.

I'm sure you have plenty of good reasons of your own for supporting this legislation, but in case you need a crib sheet try these: Economic security: In these lean times raising your own food, veggies, chickens for eggs or meat, bees for honey etc. helps stretch your family's food budget. Maybe you could make a little extra income by selling eggs or honey to your neighbors. Food security: Raising your own food helps insulate you and your loved ones from the contaminants in the industrial food chain (i.e. antibiotics in the U.S. meat supply).

A direct relationship exists between food consumption levels and poverty. Families with the financial resources to escape extreme poverty rarely suffer from chronic hunger; while poor families not only suffer the most from chronic hunger, but are also the segment of the population most at risk during food shortages and famines. See this PD article or this about food scarcity: Passage of the ordinance will help support local food initiatives. Nothing could be safer than growing your own food, or purchasing locally grown foods. Not a Cleveland resident? Even if you don't live in the city you could call / write and tell our city fathers how much you admire their progressive and forward thinking and how much you wish YOUR city's leaders would follow Cleveland's lead. Address these to Councilman Joe Cimperman: ward13@clevelandcitycouncil.org

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