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Self-reliance: “Not dead yet”

August 4, 2009

I came across this article on the New York Times’ website about how people in urban and suburban areas alike are starting to raise their own chickens.

As a backyard chicken trend sweeps the country, hatcheries that supply baby chicks say they can barely keep up with demand. Do-it-yourself coops have popped up in places as disparate as Brooklyn, suburban Chicago and the rural West. But for many others, a deep current of economic distress underlies the chicken boomlet, as people seek ways to fend for themselves in tough times. Even if spreadsheets can demonstrate that raising chickens at home is not cost-effective, it may instill an invaluable sense of self-reliance.

— New York Times, “Keeping Their Eggs in Their Backyard Nests,” 8-4-2009

The article admits that it is cheaper to buy eggs and meat at a grocery store than it is to raise chickens oneself. But that just shows that people aren’t so much motivated to raise their own chickens just to save money. They enjoy the idea of having more control over their food supply and not  subjecting themselves to supermarket prices. And in an economy where food prices are unstable, why be dependent when you can do-it-yourself? It’s also cool to see people selling eggs and meat to their neighbors and communities…a little free market going on at the local level.

Because of the costs of doing it yourself, it may not be the most strategic or economic option, but I’m sure it’s more rewarding in the end. And that’s more important–that people be able to see the rewards and benefits of free and voluntary exchange in their personal experience…before Obama nationalizes the poultry industry.

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