When science teacher Jay Renfro went to the Public Health Department for his chicken permit, it was a breeze. “I just showed up with permission from my landlord, a picture of my coop, twenty-five dollars and they did the rest. They were really excited for me – like I was having my first child. All the ladies started making chicken noises. The DMV should take note!"
Davidson County has allowed for backyard chickens since 2012, and Jay has become one of hundreds of "urban homesteaders" to do just that. “I've already hit the point where the eggs are coming faster than I can eat them. I've begun to barter. Everybody loves the idea of humanely raised food."
Karen Overton, third-generation farmer at Wedge Oak Farm in Lebanon, shares a long history with chickens and their eggs. “We have focused on slow and small growth with the goal being to utilize this century-old farm as an agricultural site the way it has been for at least one hundred years.”
Overton tells the story of her aunts raising hens and selling the eggs when money was tight during the 1930’s. When Karen caught the farming bug back in 2008, she started out with a small flock of laying hens. Chickens are indeed a cornerstone of Wedge Oak Farm. From eggs to barbecue and everything in between, one can be assured that the food raised at Wedge Oak Farm has been treated with love and respect.
Nicole and Nick Mattingly of Double N Urban Farm have enjoyed keeping a flock in their backyard for years. The Mattinglys recently welcomed a new flock to their Inglewood farm. Nicole says that the hens are great for weed control, not to mention the endless supply of “poo compost.” “We will be feeding 10 families this year, so the free manure they will provide us is huge,” Mattingly says.
Look for farm fresh eggs from Wedge Oak Farms and Carolyn’s Eggs at Wild Acres at Whole Foods, Turnip Truck and farmers markets around town. That is, unless your neighbor has them or you join a CSA.
Chickens are great for kids. Check out the videos at the Urban Chicken Advocates of Nashville.