Chicken-Keeping Takes Flight in Boston Urban Agriculture

Somerville, MA – Green City Growers, a Boston-based urban farming company, expands its residential offering in 2015 to include chicken coop installations and chicken-keeping services.

Green City Growers’ new vertical is the result of a late-2014 partnership with Yardbirds Backyard Chickens (YBC), a one-woman Somerville-based urban chicken keeping operation. “It made sense to model my business after Green City Growers’ success,” explains Khrysti Smyth, YBC Founder, “and it became a question of not if we would partner up, but when.”

“We are so excited to be partnering with Yardbirds and diversifying what we provide to our residential clients,” says Jessie Banhazl, CEO and Founder of Green City Growers. “This is a natural progression for us with the increasing inclusion of chickens and bees in urban agriculture ordinances. Khrysti provides a wealth of poultry experience and knowledge, and we provide the business structure and acumen to help her business grow and expand.”

When asked about the benefits of urban chicken-keeping, Smyth explains how chickens “help raise the complete cycle level of any urban garden.” Smyth continues, “this is an amazing time for urban agriculture in the Boston area, and I’m really optimistic about the ways we can help revolutionize our global food system.”

Green City Growers’ chicken-keeping services are almost exclusively restricted to residential applications. “There are barriers to implementing urban chicken-keeping on a larger scale,” says Smyth, “primarily space and waste management.” Smyth cautions against “giving in to the temptation to simply mimic a modern commercial poultry setup in order to increase output,” such as barns, cages and overcrowding. By holding high long-term standards that “focus on the health of the system and remembering that the outputs we’re interested in increasing aren’t necessarily the ones we sell at the market,” Smyth sees urban chicken-keeping as a viable and enduring practice for home-owners.

Learn about urban chicken keeping at Green City Growers’ seasonal workshop Chicken-Keeping 101, led by Smyth, April 23rd.

About Green City Growers: Green City Growers (GCG) is an urban agriculture business specializing in the installation and maintenance of raised bed gardens, rooftop farms and indoor growing systems, using only organic OMRI approved methods. GCG transforms otherwise unused space into thriving urban farms providing schools, home-owners, restaurants, businesses and communities immediate access to nutritious food, while revitalizing city landscapes and inspiring self-sufficiency through garden education programs. Green City Growers was founded by Jessie Banhazl in 2008.

About Yardbirds Backyard Chickens: Yardbirds Backyard Chickens is a Somerville-based urban chicken keeping company, offering clients services including consultation, chicken coop installation, pet-sitting, coop cleaning, deworming, maintenance/service plans, and classes for adults or kids. Yardbirds Backyard Chickens was founded by Khrysti Smyth in 2009.