The Backyard Chicken Initiative is making an impact in Winter Park.
Some Winter Park residents want to keep chickens as pets. However due to an ordinance in the city it is currently forbidden. The Backyard Yard Chicken Initiative project wants Winter Park to follow the 500 other cities in the United States that have overturned similar laws in recent years. The project president Rachel Whited is a chicken owner herself. She keeps her chickens in hiding to dodge any possible punishments from city code enforcers. As the leader of the group she is asking for people with an open mind to get involved with their cause.
"We are looking for people to come with us to the City Commission Meeting because physical people look even better than ink on paper," Whited said.
Whited and other members of the group swear the organic eggs their pet chickens produce are the best they've ever tasted.
"When you get an egg from the back yard you have to hit it two or three times before it will crack. The shell is so much thicker and it tastes way better," Whited says.
The group is open to explaining their reasons behind starting the initiative. They say some people have reservations about the smell and sound of the animals.
"I used to have the same stereotypes as people have now, that they were smelly, that they were loud but then I found out they're not and now I'm attached," Whited said.
What these self proclaimed urban farmers are asking for is to be able to keep up to five hens no roosters on their property. They are willing to follow all laws pertaining to pets in the city. Bill Palmer, the owner of Palmer Feed in Orlando has already seen an increase of interest in chickens and chicken supplies. He thinks people want to try something new.
"I think people want to be able to see where their food comes from. They are more accepting and want to try things out," Palmer said.
To gather support the group put together an online petition on change.org. Their goal is to get 500 signatures before they present their case to city commissioners. To date they have 255 signatures.