As of press time, more than 400 signatures have been collected to submit to the Durham City Council. Kavanah Ramsier, the petition organizer, is aiming for 1000 signatures to get the agenda item of backyard flocks put on the city planning commission's agenda.
Ramsier says the petition was an outgrowth of her work as coordinator for the Durham Inner-City Gardeners (DIG) program, which teaches leadership and life skills to Durham high schoolers through organic gardening. DIG is part of the South Eastern Efforts Developing Sustainable Spaces (SEEDS), a nonprofit community garden and educational organization. Although the petition drive is independent, Ramsier says the idea sprouted in the garden.
"So many people have come to our garden and mentioned that they used to have chickens, they'd like chickens or they have chickens despite the prohibition," Ramsier says.
It seems in Durham, as elsewhere, there's the stereotype that flocks smell bad and that's why they should be kept out of an urban setting. I agree with Ramsier's assertion that a small coop, if kept clean, doesn't smell bad at all. And, given how easy it is to clean an Eglu, there's no excuse NOT to have a tidy coop.
Here's hoping Ramsier's successful in Durham in conjunction with the effort in Chapel Hill.