Which came first, urban chickens or an urban chicken supply store? That’s easy; chickens have been quietly roosting in Saint Paul for years. Now, with Egg/Plant Urban Farm Supply, the country is just a little bit closer to the city and urban chicken growing became a little easier.
My Blue Earth county farmer grandparents kept chickens, selling eggs to farm and town neighbors for years after others abandoned a small operation’s limited income. Deeply frugal people, my grandparents weren’t dissuaded by massive confinement poultry growing barns’ ability to produce eggs and fryers on an astounding industrial scale. Selling eggs made money, pure and simple, something that any Great Depression survivor honored.
Still, for most people, city or country, keeping a few chickens hardly seemed worth the bother. But, a funny thing happened; backyard, small-scale chicken tending never completely died out. Now, not only is it back, the Egg/Plant Urban Farm Supply store is betting that chickens, like the locavore movement, are more than a passing fancy.
More importantly, this store is proof that, despite rumors to the contrary, free market capitalism is alive and well. Not every business needs or aspires to be a Home Depot superstore. In urban chickens and the pleasure they give their tenders, we glimpse the market’s risk-and-reward functionality. Chickens need chicken feed; for the right price, someone will supply it. That simple exchange warms my progressive heart every time.