WTC ?!

A nesting place where common sense prevails, where birds of a feather flock together, where absurd realities of our world are given perspective and then replayed, prompting even the most simple-minded birdbrain to ask, quite simply, what the cluck?


The folks of Sedgwick, Maine have hatched a bold scheme: invoking self rule and ignoring both state and federal oversight and licensing when it comes to producing and selling food to consumers.

According to this recent article, Sedgwick has declared food sovereignty in a four-page document it calls “The Ordinance to Protect the Health and Integrity of the Local Food System.”

One of the more interesting passages from the article is this one, which comes straight from the ordinance:

“We have faith in our citizens’ abilityto educate themselves and make informed decisions,” reads the ordinance, which was adopted unanimously March 5 at a meeting of about 100 residents. “We hold that federal and state regulations impede local food production and constitute a usurpation of our citizens’ right to foods of their choice.”

While surely the good people in and around Sedgwick are capable of making informed decisions, a quick eyeball of the region’s daily paper might just suggest they’re no wiser than any other community. Criminal activity, animal cruelty and other bad decisions make front page news on this particular day alone. So much for faith in the people of Sedgwick – and these aren’t nuances of food safety and production, mind you. These are widely held beliefs and laws that are commonplace to any citizenry.   

Now imagine applying this self rule to, say, daycare operations or dangerous work environments. Who in their right mind is going to suggest licensing or OSHA rules aren’t necessary in these situations? 

Regulations, cumbersome as they can be at times, are designed to provide the guardrails in which to move forward with effectiveness and safety in mind. Bypassing them suggests hubris at the highest level and, or in the case of food processing, a blatant disregard for the consumer.

What’s good for Sedgwick should be good for all communities, right? Certainly this isn’t about an elite group of informed citizens to whom the rules do not apply? 

Bottom line, Sedgwick – you can’t have it both ways.


City Folk Re-Hash Rules of the Roost

Hatched: March 9th, 2011

People in urban cities throughout the Midwest have been bending the rules a bit about keeping the hens out back around.   Some supporters view fresh eggs and pesticide-free fertilizer as being worth the risk while others prefer to keep the layers around as pets or even as part of 4-H projects.  No harm, no foul- right? Well, a few minor banters have caused cities to re-hash their regulations on the backyard roost.  (City’s cry fowl over residential chickens).

When the neighbor down the street fussed to Ludlow city officials to ban the chickens, a Kentuckian by the name of Amanda Lewis decided her chickens were worth the brawl.  While a fellow neighbor backed down and got rid of his two chickens, Lewis appealed her case with the intention of keeping Goldie, Speck, Big Momma and Little Momma around regardless. 

Cases such as this have also pecked their way to city attention in the Ohio cities of Norwood, Montgomery and Fairfield.  Instead of outright banning inner-city poultry, many areas have concluded that a licensing fee or proper restrictions will suffice.  Other areas have simply amended their zoning codes to allow a certain number of hens as long as they are cared for properly and do not become a nuisance or hazard. 

Whether residents agree or disagree that backyard chickens should be allowed or not, the “Urban Chicken Farmer” identity is one that’s not likely to go away anytime soon in some urban cities. While that’s good news for individuals like Lewis, it may have others bawking, “what the cluck?”