Legalizing Food Producing Animals
Miniature goats, which include pygmy and dwarf goats, are no larger than big dogs. The average mini-goat weighs between 35 to 65 pounds. Miniature goats are excellent pets due to their good-natured personalities, friendliness, faithfulness, and hardy constitution.
Female and neutered male goats do not generate significant odors, are not violent, do not wander the neighborhood like cats or generate the noise that dogs do, and are no more likely to spread disease than dogs or cats.
Many major cities (among them San Diego and Seattle) now allow miniature goats as pets, with no ill effects or problems. With our region's rich agricultural history and the overwhelming recent support of self-sufficiency through beneficial backyard urban animals such as chickens, there is no reason that the City of Visalia should not adopt a similar ordinance for miniature goats.
We are requesting that the city repeal the ordinance that categorizes miniature goats as livestock and allow miniature goats as pets within city limits.
We are currently raising funds for office supplies and website domain and hosting maintenence. Donations will go to cover:
- Stickers that we are handing out to supporters ($18 per 80 stickers)
- Printer ink (we've already gone through two cartridges at $19 per cartridge!)
- Computer paper
- Various office supplies (folders, signs for activism, etc.)
- Purchasing our Pro Goat website domain and hosting
- Possible upcoming legal fees with the city
Please consider supporting this cause! Every little bit helps! <3
Urban Farmers for Food Freedom has been super excited to bring miniature goats and baby chicks out to multiple elementary and middle schools in the Visalia Unified School District to teach students about Urban Farming!
In addition to teaching about chickens and goats and letting the kids get hands on experience brushing, petting and handling these sweet animals, we’ve been teaching students all about local community sustainability, and getting our hands dirty making pollinator friendly seed bombs to throw / plant around the school!
Check out a sample of what we’re teaching in Tulare County public schools!
DEFINITION OF URBAN FARMING
Urban agriculture can be defined shortly as the growing of plants and the raising of animals within and around cities. You don’t have to own a lot of land to be an urban farmer. An individual, a couple of friends, a family, a nonprofit group, a school classroom, or a neighborhood group can start and run an urban farm.
Urban farming has become a means to increase access to locally grown food and a way of reintroducing the public to the many aspects of food that we have lost as a culture. The importance of urban farming is increasingly being recognized by international organizations like the United Nation Habitat and the World Food and Agriculture Organization.
EXAMPLES OF URBAN FARMING
Urban farming can involve animal husbandry, aquaculture, agroforestry, urban beekeeping, horticulture and much more. Some of the more common food production and sustainable practices you’ll find on a household urban farm is:
- Chicken keeping
- Raising miniature dairy goats
- Vegetable, Fruit and Herb Gardens
- Cultivating pollinator friendly plants
- Composting and recycling
- Rain water collecting and water conservation practices
WHY URBAN FARMING IS IMPORTANT
As more people begin to understand our food system, many are seeking to have more input into how food is grown, how it is treated after being harvested and how it moves from one place along the food route to another. People have begun to understand how far food travels, and that they, as the consumer, have had no say in what is grown or how it is grown. Urban farming helps to change that, and give individuals the freedom to produce their own food if they choose to do so.
Ultimately, urban farming is beneficial for families, for the community and for the environment.
HOW URBAN FARMING HELPS FAMILIES
The costs of supplying and distributing food to urban areas based on rural production and imports continue to increase every year. Urban farming is a great way to help to alleviate poverty and food insecurity with lower income families and allows families control over what they eat and how it is grown. Growing your own food saves households money, provides individuals access to healthy food, and allows families to be self-sufficient and self-reliant.
HOW URBAN FARMING HELPS COMMUNITIES
A community that is aware of and engaged in urban farming, is a community that is focused on conservation, stewardship and teamwork. The more that families and communities engage in urban farming, the greater the “greening and cleaning” effect on the city, with positive impacts on the micro-climate (shade, temperature, sequestration of CO2). Knowing where your food comes from, and respecting, enhancing and protecting your environment creates a priceless and strong sense of community.
HOW URBAN FARMING HELPS THE ENVIRONMENT
In addition to the greening of the city, urban farming contributes to the productive reuse of urban wastes and is a powerful tool in the urban ecosystem. Growing cities produce more and more wastewater and organic wastes. Urban farming helps to solve such problems by turning urban wastes into a productive resources (like organic waste as compost and urban wastewater as irrigation). Urban farming also actively replenishes the soil, cleans the air and provides essential wildlife – especially birds, bees and butterflies – a healthy sanctuary in the urban setting.
WHY MINIATURE GOATS FOR URBAN FARMING
Miniature goats, which include Nigerian Dwarfs and African Pygmies, are popular amongst urban farmers because they’re a manageable size, relatively inexpensive to feed and produce a lot of milk for their small size. A regularly milked doe lactates for 10 months to two years after giving birth, and produces a quart of milk a day. Two mini goats can provide a family with 3 ½ gallons of milk per week. Aside from drinking the milk, you can make goat cheese, butter, yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, kefir and many other dairy products, including infant formula.
Other reasons for keeping goats on an urban farm include weed and brush control (goats will eat poisonous plants and harmful weeds like poison oak, stinging nettle, and thistles) and fertilizer (their manure is dry, fairly odorless, and nitrogen-rich and can be used immediately on crops or in the soil). Goat meat is also delicious and healthy.
Goats are ruminants, which means they have a four chambered stomach system. The straw, grains, grasses and plants that they eat are thoroughly digested, fermented in the stomach, and broken down to create the ultimate plant food and soil enhancer. Goat manure helps to build up the organic matter content in the soil and adds nutrients, increases microbial activity, and improves drainage in heavy soils and moisture retention in sandy soils.
WHY CHICKENS FOR URBAN FARMING
Most chicken-owners have the same reason for starting up their flocks: eggs! By getting eggs from your own chickens, you avoid supporting industrial farms that produce the majority of eggs sold in the US. Egg-producing hens on factory farms are often kept in such close, inhumane quarters that they cannot stretch their legs or wings, walk around, or participate in normal social behaviors.
Also, studies have demonstrated that pasture-raised eggs, from chickens given space to peck for food, are more nutritious than industry-sourced eggs, with pasture-raised eggs containing two to three times more omega-3 fatty acids and one-third the cholesterol of factory-farmed eggs. Those healthier eggs cost far less than the eggs found in the grocery stores!
Chickens also serve as great composters for your kitchen scraps. There isn’t much you can’t feed a chicken! They’re omnivores and will eat just about anything that comes out of the kitchen, including meats.
You can then add the chicken’s waste to your compost pile and use it on your garden as a fertilizer. In addition, chickens will happily pluck up any unwanted insects and pests in your yard.
We have had a mean streak of opposition, from negative opinion articles in local newspapers, to harassment from the city (calling the cops on us for signature gathering, city officials videotaping us gathering signatures, etc.) and at this point, we need to hire professional help to ensure that we reach out goals in this fight.
If you would like to donate to our signature gathering efforts (we need a little over 7,000 signatures to make the June ballot) and help our ongoing efforts to fight for liberty and Food Freedom, please visit our new GoFundMe at:
It has been an absolutely wild and crazy ride, let me tell you. The city has blasted us with every possible legal fee and publication fee they can think of. But our initiative is officially filed and we have FIVE MONTHS LEFT to gather close to 8000 signatures to qualify for the June 2016 ballot! ONCE ON THE BALLOT, I KNOW WE WILL WIN!!!!
Here's where you can help! Between publication fees, legal fees, office fees and expenses that come with filing a ballot initiative WE HAVE OFFICIALLY RUN OUT OF FUNDS.
Signature gathering is a very tedious and time consuming process, and we have found that the bulk of our volunteers are parents (mostly mothers with young children), with jobs, and finding dedicated work during the prime signature gathering times (weekday evenings) is not easy. We are in a position where multiple moms will have to sacrifice family time for the remainder of the year to go door to door... OR, we can accept the drastically reduced rate of hired signature gatherers for 50 cents per valid signature.
Basically, raising another $4000 to $5000 will get this issue on the ballot in a matter of weeks. We have the community interest. We have the majority on our side. We just lack the manpower to go out and get each food freedom loving signature ourselves. While we're planning to work our baby wearing butts off to get the signatures, having the extra help would be a blessing beyond words, and would ensure victory!
Please consider donating anything you can spare in this fight! $25 will buy the manpower to cover 50 valid signatures for us. THAT IS HUGE!
Thank you again for all your support in this crazy fight! Thank you for helping me to get my goats back, and thank you for taking a stand for FOOD FREEDOM!!!! <3
(Attached you'll find a picture of my goat Idee's baby kids... they were born at my parents house 3 days ago! I am aching to bring them home!!)
I am here today to inform you of my efforts in the community. Since I last addressed the City Council asking for assistance and consideration regarding legalizing miniature goats, dozens of citizens of Visalia have come together to form the Political Action Committee, Urban Farmers for Food Freedom.
We formed in an effort to protect essential human rights and liberties, and to advocate for property rights and food freedom.
This is why I’m speaking here tonight. I’m here to inform you that Urban Farmers for Food Freedom has just returned from the City Clerks office earlier today, where we filed our Family Food Freedom Act Initiative, which, when voted on by the People, will legalize milk producing miniature goats and egg laying chickens within the City of Visalia.
I regret that it has come to this, but the time has come to take the decision making power out of uncaring hands, and put it where it belongs – with the People, the voters of Visalia. Because the fact of the matter is, Visalia is pro-goat and we vote.
I’d like to read you the official language we submitted, and I would like to – once again – invite each and every one of you to be representatives of the people of Visalia, to listen to your constituency, and to take a stand for families and food freedom.
Also, before I get into the language of the initiative, I really want to thank Amy and Warren for really listening to the people and putting the will of the public first and foremost in regards to the issue of chickens. You have done your duty as representatives of the public and that is admirable.
Now, from what I understand, every single one of you on the council still have the ability to embrace this and make this ordinance change happen without costing the citizens and the City of Visalia money in the election process – around $120,000 or more from what I understand. This ballot initiative will happen, as I’m sure all of you all well aware.
So why do you want to be wasteful? Why would you want to burn through taxpayers hard earned money over an inevitable ordinance change that you could resolve yourselves? Just to be stubborn?
Please keep in mind that it is not too late to make this change happen as I read this initiative to you.
The language we submitted is as follows:
FAMILY FOOD FREEDOM ACT
Food producing animals may be kept by any Family household within the Visalia City limits, as follows: A maximum of up to six (6) chickens, and up to four (4) miniature goats (miniature goats shall mean Nigerian Dwarf or African Pygmy breeds of goats), combined. A total maximum of ten (10) food producing animals shall not be exceeded per Family household.
The following requirements must be met:
(1) No Roosters may be kept.
(2) No intact male goats older than ten (10) weeks (intact means not neutered).
(3) There must be at least ten (10) square feet of permeable land area available for each chicken, plus adequate enclosed shelter space for all chickens.
(4) There must be at least one hundred (100) square feet of permeable land area available for each miniature goat, plus adequate shelter space for each miniature goat.
(5) Adequate shelter must be provided to protect the food producing animals from the elements and to prevent wildlife or other predators from gaining entry.
(6) Adequate fencing shall be provided to prevent the food producing animals from escaping when not in their shelters.
The number of food producing animals allowed under this section shall not be counted against the number of dogs and/or cats allowed under other provisions of this code (See the municipal codes permitting up to four dogs and/or cats combined per Family household within the City limits).
And that’s it! It’s that simple. It’s that innocent. With Fourth of July fresh on everyones minds, now is a great time to take a stand for individual and family freedoms. As I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again, we’d love to work with you. This will happen and it would be a pleasure to have you folks on board and doing your part to serve and honor and fight for the values of Visalians.
Also, check out the Visalia Times Delta article from this morning!
Want to help us cover the ongoing costs of legalizing miniature goats and chickens and restoring food freedom and property rights to 130,000+ Visalians? Donate today!
Hello Christina! Those are not my stipulations, those are examples of stipulations of similar ordinances in San Diego and Denver. The meeting to talk about THIS ordinance and what it will include is actually tomorrow. These are just food for thought. (Which is why I welcomed feedback and asked for advice and thoughts!) Personally, as to the square footage minimums and such, for the wellbeing of the animals I am for those! But my goal here is to allow food freedom in the city of Visalia. If I present the concept as a farm animal free for all, this ordinance amendment will go nowhere. I need to strike a healthy balance that is acceptable to the City Planners and City Council or this will NOT pass. I'm afraid an "all or nothing" approach rarely works with local governments. Thank you for your feedback, and if you would like to support our efforts, it would be tremendously helpful. Doing something is always better, and more helpful, then doing nothing.
"Goats must be disbudded" You should get rid of this. Goats have horns for a reason, and with proper care (choosing fencing/feeders that are appropriate for horned goats, handling goats properly) they don't pose a risk. I have nigerians as well, and have chosen to leave the horns on all future goats and sheep that I raise. If someone tried to take my horned goats away or threatened to come disbud them, I would be pretty upset about that. Horns or no, strangers and children should not be able to access the area with the goats. A goat with a sharp scur can do more damage in a charge than one with intact horns. Most of your other stipulations look reasonable enough for someone in an urban area, I hope you get your goats back soon.