Something magical happens when you get chicken folks together with garden folks. Call it cross-fertilization, sharing, or whatever. But quickly, the chicken people have gardens and the garden people have chickens.
Poultry and Garden Clubs (P&G Club) are gatherings of folks who are interested in raising and growing for for themselves. P&G clubs are for chicken owners (and wannabes) who keep poultry for pets, eggs, meat, show and garden helpers. It is also for gardeners who are growing food (or want to grow food) for themselves, and perhaps others to generate income, for barter and/or to participate in local farmers’ markets. P&G Clubs can collaborate with the 4-H poultry club with lectures, workshops, field trips and participating in local, state and national poultry shows.
P&G Club meetings usually combine poultry with gardening by exploring how chicken “skill sets” can be employed in a Chicken Have-More Plan. For example, instead of using oil-based chemicals, chickens produce (locally home-made) organic fertilizer with their manure, and help create garden soil by turning kitchen and yard waste into compost. Chickens also serve as mobile, stealth, (non-toxic), pesticiders, herbiciders, and slugiciders in your yard and garden.
P&G Clubs explore how chickens are bio-recyclers and can be employed as clucking civic workers in solid waste management systems. Chickens help keep tons of biomass (kitchen, leaf and yard waste) out of land fills. This biomass can be turned into compost and soil to grow produce — instead of being dumped into landfills where it produces methane — a global warming gas.
Chickens combined with composting give an appropriate-technology, low-to-no-cost strategy in solid waste management systems. Environmental chickens can save thousands, even millions of precious tax payer dollars. This group will explore how to help city mayors and managers understand the financial and green value of employing environmental chickens as part of their municipal waste management systems.
The local foods movement is mushrooming and chickens have become its mascot. The urban homestead movement and urban agriculture is coming back in vogue as America rebuilds itself into a can-do, self-sufficient nation that feeds itself nutritional, wholesome food that is produced locally and stainability.
We encourage you, to join or start a local P&G Club and begin spreading the work about how to raise a small flock of chickens and easily produce good-for-you-food from your back yard. It's easy to start! Just run an ad and/or event notice in your local paper saying something like:
The (Local) Poultry and Garden Club will have it’s first meeting on ___________ at _____ PM in the _________________ located at ___________________________. Public Invited. Information call ___________ at (___) ___________
Putting up flyers and collaborating with other local clubs such as poultry club, garden clubs, Extension & Master Gardeners, conservation organizations, 4-H, Food Co-ops, schools, farmers' markets, etc.
The Gossamer Foundation will help you get started with support and out-reach assistance. Via SKYPE, we can arrange for speakers to present topics to your group. We suggest each club have a program committee that can organize local talent to present at meetings. Usually there will be something about both gardening and poultry. A list of topics is below for ideas for club meetings.
The Shenandoah Valley Poultry and Garden Club uses the Meetup.com service to keep meeting on track and communicate with members. You can join this P&G Club for free and know what topics and discussions we are having. Just go to:
Many presentations can be given by club members. They don't have to be experts on the topic, just research and report on subject; like we did in school for various presentations and book reports.
• Occupy Backyards Movement: What it means to you.
• Composting and making top soil with family flocks
• Feeds and Feeding your chickens
• Sprouting seeds for your flock
• Birdscaping: Plantings and Structures on your land for chickens
• Egg-strordiary Eggs: The chemistry, tips tricks and traps of cooking with eggs.
• Master Breeder Program: How select birds for egg production & meat production.
• Participation in breed recovery projects with the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
• Breed of the Month. Discuss the history and special features.
• Cooking Heritage Poultry; it’s different from commercial meats
• Therapy Chickens: Taking chickens into schools, nursing homes, retirement centers, street fairs, etc.
• Fencing for poultry
• Coop and chicken tractor design options
• Rainwater Harvesting for your flock and gardens
• Processing days
• Coop Tours
• Heirloom Seeds & their nutritional difference from modern hybrids & GMOs
• Seed Saving
• Seed Library at Rockbridge Regional Library
• Building raised beds
• Value of Vertical: Trellis & growing up
• Victory Gardens Think food! Turn your grassy lawn, or part of it, into a bountiful edible garden.
• Birds & Bees: keep a hive with your chicks.
• Edible Landscaping
• Birdscaping: Plants and Structures for You Flock
• Selling at Farmers’ markets
• Permaculture Design & Principles
• Keyhole Gardens
• Water Management: Swales, Key lines & Water Retention
• Plant Guilds
• Permaculture topics
• Slow Money
• Solar Ovens
• Book reviews. You can possibly get authors to SKYPE in from their homes. Pat Foreman, author of City Chicks and
Chicken Tractor loves to do this—and has done it across the country.
• Neighborhood Food Customers
• Weston A. Price Foundation website is a wonderful resource for topics.
• Edible Landscaping (in Afton, Virginia. They ship anywhere). http://www.ediblelandscaping.com
• Natural Bridge Zoo Apiary
• Poultry Shows — Poultry Show Central has dates for all major shows and swaps.
• Visit to local poultry farms for processing day and managing pasture poultry.
It's fun and educational to sponsor movie viewings. These can be held in public places or, for small groups, in private homes. Discussions afterwards can be very insightful. Our group combines potluck with a movie. Sometimes the movie can start earlier, break for dinner and discussion, see the rest of the show and have dessert and more discussion afterwards.
King Corn. King Corn is a feature documentary about two friends, one acre of corn, and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation. With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America’s most-productive, most-subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat—and how we farm.
The Real Dirt on Farmer John. The Real Dirt on Farmer John will turn every idea you’ve ever had about what it means to be an American farmer, or an American dreamer, on its head. Meet Farmer John, the incredible human being whose inspirational story of revolutionizing his family farm and redeeming his own life has won accolades and awards at film festivals around the world.
PolyCultures: Food Where We Live. This film portrays the diverse communities in post-industrial Cleveland coming together to grow a more sustainable and equitable food system. PolyCultures offers the global perspective of national experts (Michael Pollan, David Orr), but it's firmly rooted in the idea that local food is good for the health of individuals, communities, local economies, and the environment. The term polyculture refers to the ecologically-minded technique of growing a diversity of crops and/or animals on one farm, and it also alludes to people coming from very different backgrounds, arriving at similar conclusions, and taking coordinated action.
FRESH New thinking about what we're eating, FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing our food system. Each has witnessed the rapid transformation of our agriculture into an industrial model, and confronted the consequences: food contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, and morbid obesity. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet.
Among several main characters, FRESH features urban farmer and activist, Will Allen, a 2008 recipient of the MacArthur "genius" grant and recently named one of Time's 100 most influential people; sustainable farmer and entrepreneur Joel Salatin, made famous by The Omnivore's Dilemma, the best-selling book by Michael Pollan, who is also featured in the movie; and, Kansas City supermarket owner David Ball, who is challenges our Wal-Mart-dominated economy every day by stocking his stores with products from local suppliers.
Food Stamped: Is it Possible to Eat Healthy on a Food Stamp Budget? Food Stamped is an informative and humorous documentary film following a couple as they attempt to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet on a food stamp budget. Through their adventures they consult with members of U.S. Congress, food justice organizations, nutrition experts, and people living on food stamps to take a deep look at America's broken food system. Nutrition and public assistance are both hot topics in political debate — but what does it actually take to eat healthy on a food stamp budget? Is it even possible? Documentary filmmakers Shira and Yoav Potash decided to find out in the indie offering Food Stamped.
"When I started the film and experiment, I think I was pretty naive about the barriers that low-income Americans face, and I think that comes off in the film. I don't think I realized at the time how just how much privilege I have, how much privilege most Americans have in their access to healthy food, to be able to afford healthy food, and on top of that, having the time to even cook. I mean, it takes a lot of time, and when you have kids or when you're working two jobs, it becomes harder and harder."
Dirt! The Movie is takes a humorous and substantial look into the history and current state of the glorious and unappreciated material beneath our feet. One teaspoon of dirt contains a billion organisms working in remarkable balance to maintain and sustain a series of complex, thriving communities that impact our daily lives. An eclectic group of participants ranging from biologists to prisoners incarcerated on Rikers Island offer answers to problems and inspire us to clean up the mess that we’ve created. Dirt! The Movie will make you want to get dirty.
The Beautiful Truth. After the tragic loss of his mother, 15-year Garrett embarked on a study of a controversial book written by Dr. Max Gerson over 50 years ago which shows that diet could, and did, cure cancer. Dr. Gerson’s daughter, Charlotte Gerson, and grandson, Howard Strauss, gave Garrett the ammunition to search for the truth – a truth that would affect not only him, but his entire Alaskan village. After a number of cancer patients, who were diagnosed as terminal, shared their stories and their medical records with Garrett, it became abundantly clear that, contrary to the disinformation campaign spearheaded by the multi-billion dollar medical and pharmaceutical industry, a cure for virtually all cancers and chronic diseases does exist – and has existed for over 80 years! Garrett’s mission now is to tell the world.
My Father's Garden: The Use and Misuse of Technology on the American Farm. My Father’s Garden is an emotionally charged documentary about the use and misuse of technology on the American farm. In less than fifty years the face of agriculture has been utterly transformed by synthetic chemicals which have had a serious impact on the environment and on the health of farm families. This film tells the story of two farmers, different in all details, yet united by their common goal of producing healthy food. One of the farmers is the father of the filmmaker. Herbert Smith was a hero of his age: dedicated, innovative, a champion of the new miracle sprays of the ’50s. His fate is the heart of this film. The other, Fred Kirschenmann of North Dakota, is a hero for our age. Faced with a shattered economy and the devastating environmental effects of conventional chemical farming, Fred steered his land through the transition to organic farming. Twenty years later, the Kirschenmann farm is a thriving testament to ingenuity, hard work, and a reverent understanding of nature. Fred proves that sustainable agriculture is a viable alternative on any sized farm and that we can bring health and beauty back to the Garden. Directed by Miranda Smith; Produced by Miranda Productions.
The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, Cuba's economy went into a tailspin. With imports of oil cut by more than half – and food by 80 percent – people were desperate. This film tells of the hardships and struggles as well as the community and creativity of the Cuban people during this difficult time. Cubans share how they transitioned from a highly mechanized, industrial agricultural system to one using organic methods of farming and local, urban gardens. It is an unusual look into the Cuban culture during this economic crisis, which they call "The Special Period." The film opens with a short history of Peak Oil, a term for the time in our history when world oil production will reach its all-time peak and begin to decline forever. Cuba, the only country that has faced such a crisis – the massive reduction of fossil fuels – is an example of options and hope.
FLOW: An exploration of our food and water challenges. FLOW - Irena Salina’s award-winning documentary investigation into what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st Century - The World Water Crisis. Salina builds a case against the growing privatization of the world’s dwindling fresh water supply with an unflinching focus on politics, pollution, human rights, and the emergence of a domineering world water cartel. Interviews with scientists and activists intelligently reveal the rapidly building crisis, at both the global and human scale, and the film introduces many of the governmental and corporate culprits behind the water grab, while begging the question ‘CAN ANYONE REALLY OWN WATER?’
Beyond identifying the problem, FLOW also gives viewers a look at the people and institutions providing practical solutions to the water crisis and those developing new technologies, which are fast becoming blueprints for a successful global and economic turnaround.
The World According to Monsanto. The World According to Monsanto is an in-depth documentary that looks at the domination of the agricultural industry from one of the world’s most insidious and powerful companies. This is one of the most powerful, must-see films for anyone interested in the behind the scenes world of the food industry, and how just one world-dominating corporation holds the keys and patents to much of the world's food supply.
The Garden. THE GARDEN is a moving documentary about the fourteen-acre community garden in South Central Los Angeles, the largest of its kind in the United States. Started as a form of healing after the devastating L.A. riots in 1992, the South Central Farmers created a miracle in one of the country’s most blighted neighborhoods. Growing their own food. Feeding their families. Creating a community. Then, bulldozers were poised to level their 14-acre oasis.
The Future of Food. The Future of Food offers an in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind the unlabeled, patented, genetically engineered foods that have quietly filled U.S. grocery store shelves for the past decade.