Over the course of the past six or eight decades, certain things have come to define, in part, our modern existence: Making a living out of your home has been increasingly restricted, especially in predominantly residential areas; the production of goods has fallen to fewer and larger hands; and we’ve now heard just about all we can stand about the helpless generation, with their legion of helicopter parents herding them about.
Now contrast that reality with this USDA poster from just under a century ago, courtesy of online foodsteaders The Icebox Chronicles. In a simple, pragmatic way, the Fed somehow manages to address personal food security, childhood responsibility (the picture even shows them doing all the work), recreation, income potential, and patriotic duty all with a simple plea for backyard chickens.
But times have changed, you say. Today’s world is modern and convenience-driven. We no longer have to fend for ourselves in such old-timey ways. And that may be true, at least presently, but have we become so comfortably detached from the basic workings of nature that we’re now compelled to greet the prospect of a neighboring chicken (not even a rooster!) as though it were a landfill? Or a sex offender? (Like this, or this, or this, or this, or this, or this, or ….)
Zoning codes successfully manage all kinds of things that have the potential to be a problem but are not inherently so. So what’s up here?
There’s absolutely nothing revolutionary about a chicken. It’s pretty much a cat with wings that pays you back in food and fertilizer. Which makes me wonder how something so simple, something once promoted by the U.S. government as an easy, self-reliant balm for a host of domestic (and national) challenges is now, less than a century later, a growing source of community angst.
They’re fine. They’re harmless. And they’re a helluva lot quieter than a leaf blower.
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