Friday, October 10, 2008

Doing the Funky Chicken

So, what's it mean when being funky farmer suddenly becomes urban chic?

I found this link in my neighborhood listserve today on the subject of urban chickens.
And for a great series of videos about chickens, cluck here.

I recently read an article on local food harvesting that ended:
Ninety years from now will look like 90 years ago.

Luckily, much of who I am today is me "channeling" my grandfather Teddy.
That's both a blessing and a burden. It was certainly a burden when suddenly, when I was 30 years old, I began to grow a fleet of trucks. This launched a life both familiar to me, but drastically changed from that expected of a professional career in civil engineering. This re-appendage of the trucking business was again as present for me, as it was for my father, and as it was for Teddy, and probably for earlier ancestors as well. There were many days when I referred to it as my genetic flaw.

But Grandpa Teddy was a certifiable urban gardener if I ever saw one. Where an adjacent building lot could have been, was instead half used for a truck barn facing the alley and the front half used for his amazingly productive vegetable garden. In front of his house were two 25 ft. cherry trees that gave life its sweetness when they were ripe. The vegetables were hedged with well-pruned raspberry bushes which rivaled the cherries for best taste ever. But it was too cold to keep a fig tree alive.


That's me and my sister Marcia in my Grandpa Teddy's garden on Ashland Avenue in the city named after the famous geo-hydraulic occurrence called Niagara Falls.






Beside giving us the falls, nature also gave us lake-effect snow blizzards that were ferocious and sometimes life threatening. I could imagine folks here going into complete chaos if such weather were to strike us here in this climatic paradise we know as Silicon Valley or San Jose, if so inclined.


When I arrived in this valley in 1969, the fringes of San Jose were still devoted to economically viable agricultural operations. In 1970, I planted my first garden in San Jose at a duplex on South 18th Street, fertilized with fresh chicken manure from the Olivera Egg Ranch in the Berryessa District in east San Jose. In 1972, I moved about a thousand feet south where I've have lived the life of an riparian urban truck farmer ever since.

Luckily, many can still remember when growing our own food was part of every day life.
And with urban chickens returning, our future seems in one more way to be heading steadily backward toward a more sustainable community.

Blessed Be!

1 comment:

Lisanne said...

Love the pic! Classic as is the story.