Back in early 2009, Cleveland City Council passed what’s popularly known as its “chicken and bees”
ordinance, which had the effect of:
1) allowing countless clandestine beekeepers and poultry owners to finally emerge from their shadow of shame, and ...
2) making us look way more serious about urban farming than everybody else in America.
At the time, some on council also wanted to see livestock freed up to roam the city landscape, though that proposal went nowhere. But three years and several hundred demolished homes later, the plan might get off the ground if Joe Cimperman has his way.
“We’ve got in front of council now an ‘urban agriculture overlay zone,’” says the downtown councilman, using the sphincterese term for allowing livestock on any plot of land that consists of at least five acres.
“I am so sick and tired of the foreclosure story. The land is there, so what are we going to do with it?”
We’re going to render it back to the 18th century, evidently. The legislation has yet to come up for a hearing, so no word on how councilmembers and residents who were concerned about the noise and smell of chickens will react to a chorus of neighing and bleating. The influx of dung is not expected to cause problems, however, given the region’s fabled history of tolerating manure.
“Our policy is way ahead of most cities’ because the people in Cleveland who are doing this stuff are ahead of the policy,” says Cimperman. “Everything is driven by people who are doing the farming telling us what needs to be done.” And history confirms that all the best stuff that happened here went down when farmers ran the place.