Atlanta's impressive intown coops

Over the weekend Oliver and I participated in the Atlanta Urban Coop Tour. It's a tour of 28 in-town chicken coops with the proceeds going to Georgia Organics and the Oakhurst Community Garden Project. We couldn't afford the $20 tickets so we spent three hours volunteering at the will call booth and each earned a free ticket. And I'm so glad we did! The coops and chickens we saw were all so different and so interesting. Impressive doses of ingenuity.

In addition to the coops on the tour I can think of five more friends or neighbors who also keep chickens. That means there are at least thirty three people within an eight mile radius raising city chickens. I can't speak for the owners we met over the weekend but one of the reasons I want to raise my own livestock is to bypass the CAFO meat system.

CAFO is an acronym for concentrated/confined animal feeding operation. Georgia is one of the nation's highest chicken CAFO producers. Growing up in Dunwoody I'd seen and smelt the coops during trips to Lake Lanier but it wasn't until I saw the documentary "Our Daily Bread" that I realized what was going on inside the buildings. If you don't know what I'm talking about then this four minute clip is worth watching: click here. I've seen it dozens of times  and the scenes of live baby chicks dropping along conveyor belts still leaves me in awe.

There is such a stark contrast between the factory chickens' environment and that of the family backyard chicken. All the homes we visited felt effortlessly idyllic. As if adding chickens to ones home helps emphasize a slower pace of life and appreciation for basic human needs. All the coops shown here are located in Grant Park, Ormewood or Inman Park (neighborhoods in the center of the city of Atlanta's perimeter). Thank you to all the owners for letting me photograph their yards! 

Side note: "Our Daily Bread" planted the no-CAFO diet idea in my head but Robert Kenner's "Food Inc" solidified it. Many of my friends have given up meat entirely; while I understand their choice I do not think it's a solution to the problem. I believe in using my shopping dollars to support those who are raising animals the right way. We still eat meat but we make an effort to only buy meat that has been raised in a healthy, ethical way. More about this in a future post.