Yesterday, after heavy lobbying by chicken advocates, the Seattle City Council approved increasing the number of chickens allowed in the city from three to eight birds per lot. I'd say that's a flock! It's bad for the boys, though - no new roosters allowed, although existing roosters are grandfathered in.
For urban farms and community gardens, which also won a victory as part of our city's Year of Urban Agriculture, additional chickens may be possible. Already existing chicken coops can stay put; new coops need to be located ten feet away from houses.
The Seattle Times reports that the new amendments to the city land use code, allowing the growth and sale of food crops throughout the city, are some of the most progressive in the country. The ordinance is designed to spur the growth of farmers markets around the city, and it also allows food to be grown in rooftop greenhouses. I love the thought of living in the city where parking strips (as long as the plants are kept below a couple of feet in height), rooftops and gardens are filled with vegetables, herbs and fruit, but my favorite part of the debate was a comment by council member Tom Rasmussen. The SLOG reports that Rasmussen reminded everyone that existing roosters had been grandfathered in so that they could "live out their lives in dignity and peace." Now veggies in parking strips is one thing, but it's a truly progressive city where the dignity of roosters is considered important.