Bikes and Chickens and Coops, Oh My!
On Saturday, July 10, more than 40 intrepid bikers joined Just Food and Transportation Alternatives on a leisurely rolling tour of Brooklyn chicken coops, led by City Farms Trainer Eric Thomann and Just Food's own Owen Taylor. Bikers wended their way from Prospect Lefferts Gardens to Crown Heights to Bedford Stuyvesant, finally ending up in Greenpoint. In the process, they met multiple flocks of chickens and their dedicated keepers.
The chickens and their coops are as diverse as the neighborhoods in which they live. The tour kicked off in the compact backyard garden of Joshua Levin, which featured a chicken run built along the perimeter of the property and a coop made from a reclaimed dresser. Levin also has an arrangement with a next door neighbor allowing his two chickens to use their backyard as pasture -- a win-win situation that gives the chickens a little more leg room and the neighbors' access to delicious eggs.
From there, the bikers made stops at the Walt L. Shamel, Imani, and Hattie Carthan community gardens. At Walt L. Shamel, chicken keeper Greg Anderson discussed the practicalities of chicken keeping and fielded questions while the chickens proceeded to roll in the dirt to dust themselves. According to Greg, dusting is the chicken equivalent of taking a shower!
The next stop was to visit Bee Ayer of BK Farmyards at the Imani Garden, which hosts one of the largest flocks in the city-with 49 chickens. Here, attendees got the opportunity to hold some hens and found out that the Imani chickens are supplying eggs for a local CSA egg share.
At Hattie Carthan, Yonnette Fleming not only introduced riders to the chickens, but provided a great overview of the garden's long history and role in bringing food security, health, and community to their corner of Bedford Stuyvesant. Afterward, bikers took advantage of a lunch break to relax, take in an African Dance class, and tour the Hattie Carthan Farmers' Market during the opening celebrations of its second season.
For the final stop of the tour, the group took to the skies with a visit to the Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Greenpoint. With a spectacular backdrop of the Manhattan skyline, they met Eagle Street's pretty cluckers and learned about the particular challenges and advantages of rooftop livestock.
Read more about City Chickens here.
Support the City Chicken program here.