Sunday, December 6, 2009

Baraboo Chicken Girls

Yes, you can fight City Hall

As recently proven by Maia Persche and Lydia Scott, with appropriate perseverance and patience you can fight City Hall and win. These 14 year-old, young women set out to legalize the raising of chickens within the city limits of Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Their path was not smooth. They met with the City Attorney to draft the original proposal that went before the Baraboo Administrative committee and was rejected. That rejection meant 3 months would need to pass before they could reappear before the committee. They spent that time working with the City Attorney, rewriting the proposal to address the concerns raised. More importantly, they did some grass roots organizing and community education.

Lydia and Maia estimate that 55 people showed up at the next Administrative committee meeting to support their urban chicken proposal. After lengthy discussion one alder-person approved moving their proposal to the full City Council, but they could not get a second to the motion. As the proposal was not rejected outright they could present again the next month when the proposal did move on to the full council.

Here the proposal did pass and become law in the city of Baraboo.

The ordinance requires urban chicken farmers to have a predator-proof, city-approved coop and space for the chickens to run. Owners cannot have roosters and their crowing on the property and cannot slaughter chickens in the residential zone. It allows citizens to keep up to 6 hens on their property.

Lydia and Maia are inspiring community citizens that I met during a breakout session at Fighting Bob Fest.


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