|Goat break-out group|
Last month I spoke at the Urban Livestock Expo in Chicago, which was
attended by about 300 people! Those of us who are passionate about this
topic knew that a lot of people shared our enthusiasm, but we were still
rather surprised by the huge turn-out, which filled up the community
room at Garfield Park Conservatory, leaving standing room only, with
people pouring out into the entrance.
As someone who was there to talk about goats, I was happily surprised that more than 60 people attended the break-out group that was devoted to talking about keeping goats in the city!
The event was organized by Martha Boyd of Angelic Organics Learning Center, and based upon the success, it looks like this will be forever known as the First Annual Urban Livestock Expo. The Advocates for Urban Agriculture also helped organize the event.
The Expo’s framing questions were:
- What if everyone decides to raise livestock in the city? What do they need to know — to do, and not do?
- Where will they get the mentoring and the supplies they need to do it well?
- How can we work together to include food animals successfully in ecologically-integrated urban lifestyles?Our
well-versed presenters offered critter-specific information and advice,
answered questions, and guided people to more resources, including on
the nearby info tables. Following the Expo, a group toured two nearby
yards with goats and chickens in residence.
|General information session|
If you live in an area that is not as livestock friendly as Chicago — and many of the suburbs are not — there is a lot to learn from the people in Chicago about keeping chickens, ducks, rabbits, goats, and bees in the city without creating a nuisance. In fact, as many of the Chicago residents have discovered, keeping livestock in the city is not simply tolerable, it is more desirable than the factory farm alternative. Backyard livestock can be raised more humanely, and the ultimate food products can be more delicious and nutritious. Sharing information via events like the Urban Livestock Expo is a great way to educate new and experienced livestock keepers!
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I applaud the Chicagoans for being so forward-thinking!