Talk about community support for chickens!


Froths Milk for Hard Cash
11 Years
Jun 26, 2008
Tacoma, WA
This was in our local paper. Way to go, city of Sumner!

Sumner’s community garden gains chickens
City council postpones further requests of funds and staff hours for garden, but approves chicken program
Roxanne Cooke
Published: October 3rd, 2008 11:25 AM

Soon, gardeners who have a plot in Sumner’s community garden will have the opportunity to raise chickens for eggs.

The Sumner City Council voted Monday to allow the chicken program to start and to provide city staff hours to move a shed for the program. The resolution passed 5-1 by the council, with Leroy Goff as the dissenting vote.

City Councilman Randy Hynek, the founder of the community garden, said he was thankful that the city approved the shed move because it’s a time sensitive issue — fall is here and cold weather is on its way. Already, 25 percent of community garden members have signed up for the chicken program.

In the program, only those who have a garden plot would be able to join. The cost will likely be $40 to buy in and support start-up costs, $2 per chicken and $4 per month, per chicken, to cover the cost of feed.

A proposal presented by Councilwoman Cindi Hochstatter at Monday’s council meeting included many more requests for the garden, including additional funds and city staff time. Those items will be examined at a future meeting.

The proposal included the idea that the garden should eventually become self-sustaining, and it should be run by the Community Garden Committee along with the city’s Parks Board. Hochstatter suggested the board become a commission so that requests for garden improvements and funds would need to be approved by the commission, and larger requests by the city council.

Additional requests that will be looked at in the near future include another $2,000 from the city, approximately 150 hours of city staff time and the alteration of plot fees so that non-residents pay a little more and fees in general are set based on the garden’s budget.

Expenditures for the garden this year include $1,162 in supplies, $188 in mileage for Hynek and $1,300 for the water bill, for a total of $2,650.

Funds in the garden’s account include the $2,000 seed money from the city, $5,300 in grant money from the Pierce Conservation District and $1,720 in plot fees, for a total of $9,120.

To prepare for the 2009 season, the garden committee wants to install a cold frame, drip irrigation system and purchase water meters and a rototiller blade for a tractor. Total cost for those improvements would be approximately $17,500.

Staff hours would include labor, collecting fees, making payments, taking phone calls, assisting with grants, updating the city Web site and promoting the garden in the city newsletter. City Administrator John Doan said the staff time request would cost the city approximately $5,800.

In her proposal, Hochstatter also listed the accomplishments of the garden, which include creating community connections, a local food source and family activity.

“I think it’s put a good light on the city of Sumner,” Hochstatter said.

And due to the demand for individual plots, Hynek said the community farm plot located adjacent to the Sumner Cemetery will be turned into a community garden like the one behind Christ the King Lutheran Church. That garden will be expanded 30 to 40 percent to meet the demand for plots.

“The demand’s there,” he said.

Hynek is hoping for city support to utilize more land on the cemetery property, since irrigation is already in place and it’s good, fertile land. However, Mayor Dave Enslow reminded the council that cemetery land is a precious asset and putting a garden on it may make it harder to take back for cemetery use in the future.

“I think you need to be concerned about losing cemetery property,” Enslow said. “That’s a very valuable city asset.”

Hynek pointed out that the cemetery land won’t be needed for another 20 years, and when it is needed he would gladly give up that part of the garden.

During the discussion at Monday’s meeting, Councilman Goff voiced opposition to the city continuing its financial support of the garden. He said the garden will continue to grow and cost more for the city. He also noted concerns of the city being sued if someone were to get hurt while helping out.

“I have a different vision,” Goff said. “I’m entitled to that vision. In my vision, I think we’re making a big mistake. We’re really getting carried away.”


Rhymes with 'henn'
11 Years
Jun 14, 2008
South Puget Sound
Hi Dena!

Glad you posted this. I'm so pleased to see that people in our area are doing what it takes to provide for themselves.

The program is very inexpensive, too. $2 to buy in & $4/month/bird?!? It'll take us forever to recover our coop costs, so this is a great deal for people.

Acre of Blessings

Canning/Sewing Addict
11 Years
Apr 3, 2008
Axton, VA
If only other City COunsels would open their eyes to something like that, there wouldn't be so many "black-market" backyard chickens.


14 Years
Mar 24, 2008
Salt Lake City / Sugarhood
Great! I just searched on community gardens, because I have just received a garden plot in mine, and I have asked them whether I can bring my chicken tractor over to have the chickens weed for me.

Interesting idea that in the long run, I might see if there is interest in the whole garden sharing in chickens... not that I would give up my own, of course!

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