Detailed instructions on best practices in raising chickens from chicks on up. This video was created for the JustFoodNow initiative in Western Massachusetts which was created to share information about sustainable food in that area.
I got interested in this topic after reading about the taste for snails that Italian immigrants to New York City in the 1800s brought with them in 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families. I had known that escargots featured in classic French cuisine but I hadn’t gotten much further than that. I was curious, though.
Curious again, I looked into religious dietary restrictions. Snails, as a mollusk aren’t Kosher — so as well as being out for Jews, they wouldn’t be allowed for Christian groups that follow Jewish eating laws either. Snails are haram for Shia Muslims and for strict Hanafis but are permissible for most Muslims. It actually seems to have been a controversial subject amongst Muslims.
A little Googling showed quite a few snail farmers in the UK, like H & RH Escargots in Canterbury, Kent. Their welcome page says “We are a mother and daughter business farming edible snails: Helix aspersa maxima, since 2006, supplying you with delicious snails through local restaurants, gastropubs, farm shops and farmers’ markets.”
I found an interesting video from a segment of Brit chef, Gordon Ramsay’s The F Word in which he tours a UK snail farm, samples snails in garlic butter from the farmhouse kitchen and then after finding out that the farmed snails are literally garden variety has his kids hunt down about a dozen in his backyard and walks us through a new way to prepare them.
**In the video, he mentions the steps that you need to take if you intend to eat snails from your garden, as you need to ensure that any toxins they may have eaten clear their systems.
Note: Since this is Gordon Ramsay and the clip is taken from British TV where swears are allowed, he swears once during the clip.
I noticed that the UK snail farmer had mentioned that his farm operation was very labor and water intensive. This didn’t sound very sustainable to me.
Then I found this video about “free range” snail farming in Australia. Looks like they’ve planted a crop for the snails.
Here is a detailed look at Stephane and Nathalie’s snail farm in France. It seems like they are the only workers on their farm and so they clock really high hours between caring for the snails and processing them.
Danny at Soulsby Farm writes on why chickens are good livestock to raise as well as giving lots of information on how to get started (selecting your breed, finding chicks a good reference book on chickens and how to feed and water them). He’s also posted neat pics of the coop building process and of his flock.
Danny and his family live on a small farm in Hudson, Ohio. He writes “We believe in sustainable farming from organic heirloom seeds and are strongly against GMO’s. We grow everything organically and let our hens free range around the garden (and sometimes the neighbors yard).”
Find out more about the non-profit he started, Project Garden Share (especially if you’re in that part of Ohio as they’re looking for donated seed, plants and tools) connect individuals in need of food with people who grow gardens.
Urban farmer and author (Farm City:The Education of an Urban Farmer and The Essential Urban Farmer), Novella Carpenter talks about urban agriculture and shows us around her reclaimed-from-vacant-lot farm in the “Ghost Town” neighborhood in Oakland, California. She grows vegetables and raised poultry, rabbits, goats, bees and at one time pigs in a relatively small space.
Stuff she touches on in the interview: Raised beds, apiculture, livestock farming, dumpster diving for animal feed, community gardens, food deserts, slaughtering, most productive vegetable, how growing your own food can save money, lead contaminated soil, soil testing, urban predators, seed starting, starting small, books she uses for reference, the power of online how-to videos…