Monthly Archives: October 2012

Chickens coming to Oxford Michigan!


Great news! I attended the meeting of the Oxford Township Planning Commission Thursday night. I didn’t expect great things after the beating I took at the Board of Trustees meeting earlier in the month. The Trustees wanted the planning commission to consider allowing chickens on residential parcels of 2.5 acres. Obviously, this accomplishes nothing and still locks out thousands of residents from the right to raise chickens.

Well apparently the planning commission agrees with me. They saw no purpose in that and, in fact, questioned the entire ordnance as it is written. The allowable number of “animal units” used in the current ordnance is based off recommendations from the Michigan Right to Farm Act, which is written for commercial farms. It has no bearing on the backyard chicken keeper or homesteader.

In fact, the member who did the most research on the act as well as court cases involving townships and backyard chicken keepers, informed the board that Oxford’s ordnance was not enforceable and needed a complete rewrite. Another board member was so passionate for my cause you’d think he was the one proposing it!

By the end of the night, the board decided to form a committee to make recommendation. The committee is formed of those two board members who made my case as well as yours truly. We’re looking for others who are interested in having a say as well. Contact me at rmestrada@ameritech.net if you’d like to take part. Our official title is the “Urban Agricultural Initiative.” Sounds official, eh?

Now we still have to go back to the trustees and sell it to them once we’ve come up with our recommendation. But with the voice of two members of the planning board and a stack of data, we should be able to come back victorious. This is great news for Oxford and for anyone who shares a passion to be self-sufficient.

To add icing to the cake, my presentation to the Board of Trustees was on the front page of the Oxford Leader the same day that I met with the Planning Commission. Take a look at the article here: Oxford Leader Article: Are Chickens Coming to Oxford

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The Right to Keep and Bear Chickens


You’ll see me spending a considerable amount of time on this site advocating for Oxford Township to allow the keeping and raising of chickens for all property owners.

Why?

Because of all the devices critical for self-reliance, raising livestock is the only one that is currently not allowed within our township. While I can certainly understand the desire of our township officials to create an atmosphere of a modern township, wishing to separate from the farm community standing we once held, Americans are waking up to a new reality: complete reliance on the outside world will certainly lead to disaster. If Oxford were hit with a natural or man-made disaster that would cut us off from the outside world for even a few weeks, many would find themselves without food, safe water, or even heat within a matter of days.

This is not common-sense living.

The homesteader understands the importance of self-reliancy. Gardens, reuseable energy (wood, solar), and food storage are just pieces to the overall picture of self-reliance. Livestock is an essential piece to the puzzle. Without it, we’ll find ourselves just as desperate as the guy who lives day to day.

Oxford should strive toward self-reliance for its residents and sustainability for the community. While a couple of chickens in the backyard may not seem like much, it is a big step toward assurance that a family can survive through any unforeseen disaster. Even if that disaster is nothing more than a lost job.

Did you know that 93% of major U.S. cities now allow backyard chickens? Check out this link and see how many have allowed their residents to make their own choice in this regard.

Wednesday night I’ll be attending the Oxford Township Board meeting at 7pm to advocate for the right to keep chickens and other small livestock. Please join me if you can. If I’ve discovered anything during my limited involvement in politics is that a few people can make a huge difference, especially at the local level. The meeting is held at the old Veterans Hall at 28 N. Washington Street on the second floor. Park in the lot behind Red Knapp’s.

I hope to see you there. Every day is one more step toward self-sufficiency!

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Are you a Homesteader?

It’s not a silly question. And easy to answer. Try this little test:

1. Do you find yourself wishing you could provide more of your own food?

2. Does your stomach do a little flip every time the power goes out?

3. Do you fantasize about telling the power, water, and cable company to shove their rate increases up their…um…drainpipes?

4. Do you just want an excuse to put chickens in your backyard?

If you answered yes to any of those questions-and hopefully all of them-then you’ve come to the right place. Oh, by the way, since homesteading implies staying local, we’re tuned into our favorite town-Oxford, Michigan. Home of the Wildcats, Red Knapp’s, and the original radio Lone Ranger (hey, it’s something).

We’ll  use this website for information and facebook for sharing ideas, swapping stuff, and posting pictures (of our chickens). So bookmark it and come back often. Let’s get to work getting Oxford off the grid and self-sufficient! Or we can just sit outside and look at our chickens.

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