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Annual Urban Coop Tour something to crow about
by Bobby Tedder
btedder@neighbornewspapers.com
September 26, 2012 03:14 PM | 1950 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The fifth annual Urban Coop Tour is coming soon to a local neighborhood.

The event, presented by The Wylde Center and Georgia Organics, will be Oct. 6 and 7.

Tour insiders note that backyard chickens are popping up across in-town Atlanta neighborhoods with families, community gardens and neighborhood co-ops getting in on the action.

“I like to think that urban flocks aren’t just a trend,” said tour organizer and coop owner Ann-Marie Anderson. “It used to be normal for families to have a few chickens in the backyard … in these days of industrially produced and transported food, it does sometimes seem like growing your own is something of a subversive act.”

The dual benefits of farm fresh eggs and reclaiming ownership of the food chain have inspired hundreds — and counting — to get involved, said tour spokeswoman Dara Suchke.

“If you are thinking about keeping chickens in your own backyard, you’ll get some great ideas,” Suchke said.

Destinations on the tour, from chicken McMansions to jewel box coops in tiny spaces, highlight the wide array of ways contemporary urban farmers are raising their chicks.

“The coops are often living works of art, situated in organic gardens as part of wider sustainability and permaculture efforts,” said Suchke.

The tour will wind its way through neighborhoods including Decatur/Oakhurst, Candler Park, East Atlanta, Reynoldstown and Grant Park.

Coop owners like Decatur’s Anderson and Joey Zeigler will guide the tours and discuss their chicken-raising experiences.

Zeigler currently raises four different breeds of chickens, from Black Cochin to Salmon Faverolles.

“They’re very very smart animals and very engaging,” said Zeigler. “For my youngest daughter [Lily] it’s kind of like growing up with a dog or cat … she’ll probably have chickens for the rest of her life.”

Zeigler has managed to implement chicken rearing into part of his business.

His Zeigler Homestead Services firm aids in the design and installation of “urban farm-like things” — sustainable backyard gardens, coop design, rain barrels and concepts of that ilk.

It is perhaps still too early to judge the success of this business model, he noted.

“I just want to help people eat real food,” Zeigler said. “There’s nothing more real than walking outside in the morning and scooping up eggs from your nesting boxes and picking some lettuce from your garden for your salad.”

If you go
 What: Fifth annual Urban Coop Tour
 When: Oct. 6 and 7
 Tickets: $25 day of the tour; $20 in advance; $15 day for Wylde Center and Georgia Organics members.
Website: www.urbancooptour.com
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