When my business partners and I bought the property that Stone Coop Farm lives on in November of 2011, I knew we had to save it as farmland for future generations. Our farm is on 30 acres, but it is zoned residential. 1000 new homes in four new subdivisions are being built on both sides of us. I can hear the excavation equipment every day. A wastewater treatment plant is being built and the high-pressure sewer line will be connecting these subdivisions along our property line. Developers are approaching us to sell the farm, so that more homes can be built. The value of our land is increasing as residential lots, not as farmland. I know my mission is to save the farm, but that often feels like an insurmountable task, given what’s going on around me.
A chicken ordinance was passed in Ann Arbor in 2008, allowing residents to keep up to four hens in their backyards for the first time. Happily, residents of Ann Arbor began building coops and transforming their backyards into a haven for their chickens. The popularity of backyard chickens has continued to grow. As of December 2016, 22 permits for backyard chickens had been issued, already rising above the 14 that were issued in 2015. Early in 2015, the number of chickens allowed went from four to six, delighting those who already had them and instilling curiosity in many who have never had chickens.