Workshop details the art of agriculture’s simplistic past and future of health.
JOHN KRISPIN email@example.com
BUTLER TWP. – If you’ve ever pondered where your eggs and poultry dinners originate, the trail usually leads to a mass-production factory full of non-pastured animals.
But in the realm of a community garden Saturday afternoon, an intimate group of people attended a workshop at the Butler Township Freedom Park in hopes of learning the art of agriculture’s simplistic past and future of health.
Don and Sue Ritter, of Sugarloaf, showcased different methods of supplying your own small grocery store by means of chickens, gardens and patience. They pride themselves on keeping a healthy diet by nurturing the wonders of nature.
“It’s amazing how the mass-produced factories feed antibiotics to their chickens and raise them in big buildings, and we are here giving skim milk to baby chicks, introducing the right kind of germs so that chemical antibiotics are not necessary, “ said Don Ritter.
He later explained how the methods of staving off disease naturally are much more healthy and ethical than those used by major corporations.
“It’s a great thing that’s happening...” said Jule Greco, member of the board of directors for the community garden. She believes that nurturing your own food is a valuable lesson in health and communicating.
“It’s great for kids, and great to have people come together. It’s such a great social thing.”
The Ritters explained the differences of the types of raising a person can do, either for eggs or for the poultry meat, which types of birds can be raised, and what one can expect as far as startup costs and maintenance.
It’s becoming the ‘in’ thing, to own and raise your own chickens,” said Sue Ritter. She and her husband have raised their own foods for years, and were adamant about the methods they use as compared with big corporations.
“It’s a food care crisis,” said Don Ritter. “People are going back to the more basic ways. Grass is the basic food of the world. Where food should come from is from grass. It is the main building block.”
Handouts were dispersed on the nutritional values of chickens and their product. Also, the Ritters explained how chickens have an added perk as a means of pest control.
“They do a great job on cutting down on pests,” said Don Ritter. “They patrol and have their borders, and they maintain them.”
Other topics discussed were how chickens manage gardens (pest control), initial costs of installing a homemade hen house, how many to begin with and what you are to expect to yield as far as eggs and poultry meat.
The workshop was sponsored by the Center for Landscape Design and Stewardship, and held in the Butler Township Community Garden, which is in its fifth year.
In 1990, the US government defined sustainable agriculture in Public Law 101-624, Title XVI, Subtitle A, Section 1683, as “an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will, over the long term, satisfy human food and fiber needs; enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends; make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls; sustain the economic viability of farm operations; and enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.”
Our first chicks usually first arrive in April or the beginning of May, so our initial availability is most often in June. Write to us by email and we will contact you further. Operations will continue during the green months of the year.
Our largest chicken so far was over 18 pounds dressed weight! The largest world record breaking live weight chicken was 24.18 pounds in September 2012. This was a very important accomplishment for Absolute Pastured Poultry.
There is room for continuing innovative pioneering in new directions toward growing and improving upon naturally raised pastured chickens.
We will always be committed to raising our own high quality chicken for ourselves and our family and we extend this same level of care to you and your family. We hope that you will be able to join together with us again this year!