Backyard Chickens

Richmonders Say Yes to Backyard Chickens

by Whitney Spicer

RICHMOND, Va. – City residents voted Wednesday night to support a recommendation allowing backyard chickens in Richmond.

The recommendation was one of the most popular out of 30 recommendations presented in a community meeting by the Food Policy Task Force, launched last summer by Mayor Jones.

“Groups have worked almost a year to come up with these ideas,” said Carolyn Graham, co-chairwoman of the task force and Richmond’s deputy chief administrative officer for human services.

“We are very excited about the work we are undertaking tonight.”

Over 90 participants helped narrow the list of 30 recommendations down to six. The recommendations that made the cut included creating a community food hub, hiring a community food director, and developing programs for food preservation and preparation within the communities.

These recommendations, which help focus the task force’s plan of action, will be presented to the mayor as a part of the task force’s report.

Anne Darby, the task force’s co-chairwoman, informed the audience on “food deserts” — neighborhoods where people have no access to healthy food. They usually do not have a grocery store, so residents rely largely on corner markets where this is not many healthy options available.

“These people don’t have a lot of money to buy fresh healthy food, but they also don’t have access to this food,” Darby said.

The Food Policy Task Force was created last summer in an attempt to give all Richmond city residents access to healthy, nutritious food.

“Richmond is a tier one city,” said Mayor Jones, referring to his goal of pursuing a Triple-A bond rating for the city.

“But we cannot be a tier one city if we are not a healthy city.”

As the crowd of Wednesday’s meeting prepared to vote on the recommendations presented, the mayor said, “If it’s not too expensive, we’ll do it.”

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