We are at a weird time in our culture. We want to recapture the spirit of victory gardens and feeding ourselves. But we don't necessarily want to fundamentally change our lifestyle or upset the neighbors too much.
And that's how we end up with chicken babysitters -- Just Us Hens -- a company in Portland, Oregon, that is willing to watch your backyard chickens while you're on vacation. Welcome to the world of boutique urban farming.
While it's exciting that people are reconnecting with food and thinking about what they eat, it's a bit disconcerting that we need a chicken consultant in order to do that. And in trying to fit farming into our current lifestyle, I wonder if we're missing the entire point. One of Just Us Hens' clients, Renee Wrede, unintentionally illustrated the issue in an interview with CNN:
"We do have a house-sitter, but she has no idea about chickens," Wrede explains. Rowland [Sharon Rowland, one of the founders of Just Us Hens], on the other hand, was hard-working expert: "She even scooped the poop!"Farming requires sweat equity. Technology can help, but there is still sweat equity to be paid. Would be farmers will need to decide if they love farming or they simply love the idea of farming. We'll know it's the latter if we start seeing baby chicks being toted around in designer purses.