Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Volunteer

There are prairie dogs here, they poke their heads out of holes that litter the land and dispense admonishments with sharp clicks as I turn off of Smith road and into a small parking lot. The noise of the freeway drops away and the smell of chickens and earth becomes stronger.

It is a Monday and a layer of dust covers everything in the Feed Denver office. The chickens are growing larger and their home has expanded to the entire south wall- they scratch at the wood shavings covering the floor, squawk, and stir up feathers and food. Monday is cleaning day. We dust and wipe, sweep and order, and try to clear our heads for the tasks at hand. We talk about the coming spring; radishes and micro greens to be planted, signs to be painted, events to be organized, newsletters to be mailed. There is so much to be done, it fills our heads and spins us sick like a ferris wheel.

Alright, Excel, help us in our time of need! We sit down to make sense of it all, make lists of tasks, and who will do them. Organization! Organization will save us! We list them; Task, What is Needed, Timeline, Notes- Who will man the farm market? Who will retrofit the hoop house? Paint the barrels? Stir the compost? Around and around it goes until a form begins to appear in columns and rows. And we pray for the form of it to show us results, the coming of spring, and people who are willing to get their hands dirty. The radishes will push their way through black earth, we will notice the how the sun shines just so on our grasses and garden beds, and with the ease of the seasons things become, and signs get painted.

You can help us usher in the spring by volunteering too; we will be having a joint Feed Denver and the Urban Farm clean-up weekend on April 10th and 11th. We will be revamping the hoop house, planting, weeding, and turning compost. Call or email to let us know you are coming and we'll make sure to save a place for you. Our farm stand will be open and have fresh greens and early produce to sell along with baked goods, sandwiches, and drinks.

Monday, March 8, 2010

76 Trombones Led the Big Parade!

On Monday March 1, Feed Denver expanded their employee base. We received 76 baby chicks sent through the mail and they are growing quickly! The baby chicks keep us company in the office where their chirping is a constant reminder of their presence. Already their wings are beginning to show and develop and within 8-10 weeks they will move into their new digs, a spacious wooden chicken coop with three separate grazing areas. Kate Johnson, the chicken queen here at Feed Denver, says they are healthy and most of them will make it out to the chicken coop. She is especially excited for the Cuckoo Marans, a French breed, who lay dark brown eggs. "In about ten weeks they will have all there adult feathers and can move out into the chicken coop, late April or mid-May, depending on the weather. Right now we are feeding them pellets, but eventually we want to move them onto vegetable scraps and a mixture of seeds for scratch." Johnson has been studying the local prairie ecology and in the bigger picture she would like to see them also subsist on seeds and other foraged food from the land surrounding their chicken coop.

Chickens can be a valuable source of food for families and individuals in the city. 7 chickens can produce up to 35 eggs a week, which can then be eaten as omelets, turned into homemade pasta, or used for baking. In these difficult economic times, chickens can provide a source of delicious food and entertaining pets! They are easy to maintain, as long as you have a little bit of backyard space and a bit of time for feeding and collecting. Currently it is legal in the city of Denver to own chickens, although a permit must be obtained and the law as it stands now does not allow owners to sell the eggs for profit. It is also a good idea to talk to your neighbors ahead of time and make sure they know you will share! Johnson says that as time are getting more and more difficult this is an easy and cheap way to provide food for your family! Contact Feed Denver for chicken raising educational opportunities or with any questions.