The Story of Loaves and Fishes From the Holy City of the Sweet Water Seas
It began in earnest when the kid from the hood,
Just 15 years old, shot in the stomach,
A fine Riverwest, gay, pub worker/owner,
A few weeks after an intemperate leader
Gay-bashed rogue cops
Rather than thoughtfully, powerfully,
Seize the reins of justice.
This outrageous shooting, plus
A rash of thuggery that summer, 2005,
Brought forth a community gathering,
Which I attended, at the Art Bar on Burleigh,
Across from old St. Mary’s,
Where the shooting had occurred.
I had the same sinking feeling in my stomach,
As during the 1970s and 1980s, when I and friends
Had done our best to inspire thought in things better
Than racist scapegoating at community meetings,
Following notorious crime events and moments
In struggling Milwaukee.
But when I arrived at the Art Bar, there was a
Spirit of graceful, powerful…resolve.
A succession of strong and warm people,
A polyglot, rainbow melange,
People with deep roots in the neighborhood
And the movements of our times,
Expressed thoughts and feelings aiming to heal and renew,
To draw upon our deepest imaginations and
Sources of resilient endurance…
To keep our eyes on the prize that
Ghandi and King, Rosa, John, and Bobby,
Mandela, Grace Lee Boggs, and many more,
Had blazed in great visions in our youth.
Having spent much time alive
In the dark, dank tombs of pharaohs,
While not witnessing manifestations of bestial hate
Aimed at minority “others”
I was overwhelmed by these
Bursts of warm light
Coming from everyday people.
I had to leave early,
Lest I lose my composure,
And while driving home
Along sacred city trails,
Alongside resurgent neighborhoods
And cleansing rivers,
The notion of finally meeting Big Will Allen,
The legendary urban farmer already renowned
In awakened circles for his avant-guard
Permaculture and urban agriculture innovations,
Innovations agricultural and “biological,” e.g. vermaculture,
Agriculture ecological, e.g. gloriously productive
Simulated indoor river valleys with sweet water
And fat, healthy, tasty fish,
Innovations social and cultural, e.g. farmer training youth programs.
And when I got out to Growing Power, on 55th and Silver Spring,
More than one incredibly exuberant persons,
Starting with Miss Karen, greeted me with a warmth and generosity
That continues to inspire, and even, startle me.
Later on I learned that I had experienced my first moment with…
Growing Power Magic!
That’s what Miss Karen calls it.
And it’s true!
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2008 Growing Power Annual President’s Letter
How to Donate to Growing Power
click here for how to donate pdf
click here for growing power giving letter pdf
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Greening the Economic Stimulus Act
Will Allen Visions for Green Job Development
This coming Tuesday at 2:30 at Growing Power on 55th & Silver Spring,
MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Will Allen will be offering a personal tour of Growing Power.
In addition to sharing the story of the miracle of Growing Power,
The most fertile 2 acres of land, I say, on the planet earth
(please share news of anywhere more fertile per sq. ft.)…
Will will have lots to say about green job development!
Greening the Infrastructure Stimulus Act,
Will Allen Growing Power Tour, Jan. 7th, 2:00 p.m.!
- 55th and Silver Spring, at the Growing Power city farm
- $10 per person
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Grace Lee Boggs on Will Allen and Obama
LIVING FOR CHANGE
Where Do We Go From Here?
By Grace Lee Boggs
Michigan Citizen, Nov. 16–22, 2008
It was block by block, from the ground up, community organizing. which won the White House for Barach Obama. Inspired by his eloquence and audacity, his commitment to change we can believe in, and his faith in himself and in human possibilities, determined to leave behind us the shameful legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, the Iraq war and the other atrocities of the Bush- Cheney regime, and to begin healing and redeeming our country and ourselves, tens of thousands of Americans, of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and faiths, members of unions, churches, synagogues, peace, women’s and other community groups, discovered in them/ourselves the energy that comes from renewed hope and commitment to a just cause. So, especially after the Democratic convention. we/they went door to door, block by block, in neighborhoods all over the country, persuading strangers and folks who had never voted or who had lost faith in voting, to vote for Obama. It was a great feat, worth celebrating.
Where do we/they go from here? Some people will use the experience to advance their own careers. Others will be content with Obama’s closing down Guantanamo and undoing similar Bush- Cheney abuses. Still others, outraged at Obama’s appointments of pro-Israel zealots, rightwing Democrats and economic heavyweights whose only concern is growing the economy, will organize protest demonstrations, trying to push Obama to the Left. Or they will regret that they did not vote for Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney
I will not be among them. I think that Obama has already done our country a great service by encouraging tens and hundreds of millions all over the world to believe that America can change and that together we can change it. I do not delude myself that despite Obama’s formidable multi-tasking skills, he will be able, in the Oval Office, as commander in chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, struggling to extricate this country from two unwinnable wars which have become occupations, saddled with a trillion dollar deficit, and needing to court both Republicans and Democrats even for modest health care legislation that will not make us more healthy but only make heath insurance more available, to initiate the profound changes in our values, in how we live, how we make our livings and how we educate our children, that are urgently needed at this milestone in our evolution when we are in the midst of a cultural transition as far-reaching as that from hunting and gathering to agriculture eleven thousand years ago and from agriculture to induntung ustry three hundred years ago.
Changes of this magnitude cannot come from the top down, only from the ground up. .
And that is where they are coming from. All over the country citizens from all walks of life, parents, teachers, administrators, recognizing that our Fordist model of schooling is the main cause for school dropouts and expanding prisons, are exploring new ways of educating our children that involve their hands and hearts and engage them in community-building. One outstanding example is the Catherine Ferguson Academy in Detroit where caring for small animals and planting community gardens is part of the science curriculum for teenage mothers .
In Milwaukee former basketball player Will Allen has founded Growing Power, an urban farm that not only grows produce for thousands of city-dwellers but helps communities grow their own gardens in order to bring the neighbor back into the ‘hood.
“We have to go back to when people shared things and start taking care of each other. That’s the only way we will survive. What better way to do it than with food?” said Will as he was honored with a 2008 MacArthur Genius Award.
All over the United States the local foods movement is helping Americans cope with spiraling food prices, at the same time slowing down global warming and making us healthier because we are not importing adulterated foods grown on factory farms and transported thousands of miles in gas-guzzling trucks.
In neighborhoods all over the country the economic meltdown is forcing people to rethink the waste of suburban living and SUVs and the cost of shopping at malls rather than neighborhood stores. So this Thanksgiving people will be swapping stories of an older generation whose hands were more calloused but who cared not only for themselves but each other.
At the end of 1966, four months before his anti-Vietnam war speech, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote “Where do we go from here: Community or Chaos” in which he called for a radical revolution of values against the giant triplet of racism, materialism and militarism. It would be fitting if on January 20 as we celebrate Barach Obama’s inauguration we also commemorate MLK’s 80th birthday by holding teach-ins on this little pamphlet.
More Grace Lee Boggs at…
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A Rise in Kidney Stones Is Seen in U.S. Children
By LAURIE TARKAN
Published: October 27, 2008
To the great surprise of parents, kidney stones, once considered a disorder of middle age, are now showing up in children as young as 5 or 6.
While there are no reliable data on the number of cases, pediatric urologists and nephrologists across the country say they are seeing a steep rise in young patients. Some hospitals have opened pediatric kidney stone clinics.
“The older doctors would say in the ’70s and ’80s, they’d see a kid with a stone once every few months,” said Dr. Caleb P. Nelson, a urology instructor at Harvard Medical School who is co-director of the new kidney stone center at Children’s Hospital Boston. “Now we see kids once a week or less.”
Dr. John C. Pope IV, an associate professor of urologic surgery and pediatrics at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, said, “When we tell parents, most say they’ve never heard of a kid with a kidney stone and think something is terribly wrong with their child.”
In China recently, many children who drank milk tainted with melamine — a toxic chemical illegally added to watered-down milk to inflate the protein count — developed kidney stones.
The increase in the United States is attributed to a host of factors, including a food additive that is both legal and ubiquitous: salt.
Though most of the research on kidney stones comes from adult studies, experts believe it can be applied to children. Those studies have found that dietary factors are the leading cause of kidney stones, which are crystallizations of several substances in the urine. Stones form when these substances become too concentrated.
Forty to 65 percent of kidney stones are formed when oxalate, a byproduct of certain foods, binds to calcium in the urine. (Other common types include calcium phosphate stones and uric acid stones.) And the two biggest risk factors for this binding process are not drinking enough fluids and eating too much salt; both increase the amount of calcium and oxalate in the urine.
Excess salt has to be excreted through the kidneys, but salt binds to calcium on its way out, creating a greater concentration of calcium in the urine and the kidneys.
“What we’ve really seen is an increase in the salt load in children’s diet,” said Dr. Bruce L. Slaughenhoupt, co-director of pediatric urology and of the pediatric kidney stone clinic at the University of Wisconsin. He and other experts mentioned not just salty chips and French fries, but also processed foods like sandwich meats; canned soups; packaged meals; and even sports drinks like Gatorade, which are so popular among schoolchildren they are now sold in child-friendly juice boxes.
Children also tend not to drink enough water. “They don’t want to go to the bathroom at school; they don’t have time, so they drink less,” said Dr. Alicia Neu, medical director of pediatric nephrology and the pediatric stone clinic at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore. Instead, they are likely to drink only once they’re thirsty — but that may be too little, too late, especially for children who play sports or are just active.
“Drinking more water is the most important step in the prevention of kidney stones,” Dr. Neu said.
The incidence of kidney stones in adults has also been rising, especially in women, and experts say they see more adults in their 20s and 30s with stones; in the past, it was more common in adults in their 40s and 50s.
“It’s no longer a middle-aged disease,” Dr. Nelson said. “Most of us suspect what we’re seeing in children is the spillover of the overall increase in the whole population.”
The median age of children with stones is about 10.
Many experts say the rise in obesity is contributing to kidney stones in children as well as adults. But not all stone centers are seeing overweight children, and having a healthy weight does not preclude kidney stones. “Of the school-age and adolescent kids we’ve seen, most of them appear to be reasonably fit, active kids,” Dr. Nelson said. “We’re not seeing a parade of overweight Nintendo players.”
Dr. Slaughenhoupt has seen more overweight children at his clinic. “We haven’t compared our data yet,” he said, “but my sense is that children with stones are bigger, and some of them are morbidly obese.”
Dr. Pope, in Nashville, agreed. His hospital lies in the so-called stone belt, a swath of Southern states with a higher incidence of kidney stones, and he said doctors there saw two to three new pediatric cases a week.
“There’s no question in my mind that it is largely dietary and directly related to the childhood obesity epidemic,” he said.
Fifty to 60 percent of children with kidney stones have a family history of the disease. “If you have a family history, it’s important to recognize your kids are at risk at some point in their life,” Dr. Nelson said. “That means instilling lifelong habits of good hydration, balanced diet, and avoiding processed high-salt, high-fat foods.”
There is also evidence that sucrose, found in sodas, can also increase risk of stones, as can high-protein weight-loss diets, which are growing in popularity among teenagers.
A common misconception is that people with kidney stones should avoid calcium. In fact, dairy products have been shown to reduce the risk of stones, because the dietary calcium binds with oxalate before it is absorbed by the body, preventing it from getting into the kidneys.
Children with kidney stones can experience severe pain in their side or stomach when a stone is passing through the narrow ureter through which urine travels from the kidneys to the bladder. Younger children may have a more vague pain or stomachache, making the condition harder to diagnose. Children may feel sick to their stomach, and often there is blood in the urine.
One Saturday last February, 11-year-old Tessa Cesario of Frederick, Md., began having back pains. An aspiring ballerina who dances en pointe five nights a week, she was used to occasional aches and strains. But this one was so intense that her parents took her to the doctor.
The pediatrician ordered an X-ray, and when he phoned with the results, her parents were astonished.
“I was afraid he was calling to say she pulled something and wouldn’t be able to dance,” said her mother, Theresa Cesario. Instead, they were told that Tessa had a kidney stone.
“I thought older men get kidney stones, not kids,” Ms. Cesario said.
The treatment for kidney stones is similar in children and adults. Doctors try to let the stone pass, but if it is too large, if it blocks the flow of urine or if there is a sign of infection, it is removed through one of two types of minimally invasive surgery.
Shock-wave lithotripsy is a noninvasive procedure that uses high-energy sound waves to blast the stones into fragments that are then more easily passed. In ureteroscopy, an endoscope is inserted through the ureter to retrieve or obliterate the stone.
Tessa Cesario is taking a wait-and-see approach. Her stone is not budging, so her parents are putting off surgery until they can work it into her dance schedule. In the meantime, she has vastly reduced her salt intake by cutting back on sandwich meats, processed soups and chips.
And, her mother said, “she drinks a ton more water.”
Click Here for original article at the New York Times
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Chicago High School for Agricultural Science
by Scott Simon
October 25, 2008 · On Chicago’s southwest side, the intersection of 111th Street and Pulaski Boulevard is just about as urban as bus exhaust. There’s a pizza parlor on one corner. Heavy trucks trundle past, carrying heavy things like cars, steel and cement.
But if you listen carefully to the cacophony of car horns and bus splats, you may hear Lucy, chomping on grass like a pig, which she is — a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig of 350 pounds and then some. Lucy is also the resident mascot at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, a public school and a 72-acre working farm. Its 600 students grow corn, milk cows, farm fish and run a stand where their own apples, pickles and cookies are for sale.
First and last, it is a public high school, with students clustering to gossip and teachers reminding them that they’re in class — even when their class is in a barn. They sit on the rails of a corral and gossip about a goat — a real goat — they’re worried looks too thin.
Dr. Joan White is the school’s teaching veterinarian. Her patients include two horses: Dalia, who has arthritis, and Splash, “who has Wobblers syndrome,” White says. “Both of them would have headed somewhere bad, but we use them to teach husbandry, anatomy, teaching basic skills.”
Ag High, as it’s called, opened in 1985. It’s the second agricultural high school in the country — and one of the first steps toward Chicago’s long effort to rejuvenate its public schools with innovation and experimentation.
Students must apply to attend, and some travel more than an hour each way each day. They take the full academic load of English, history, science and language classes. But they also spend part of the day in classes and enterprises distinct to Ag High, such as tending the greenhouse, which right now is planted with hundreds of poinsettias. These will bloom in time for the holiday season and will be sold at the school’s farm stand.
Students also mind five tanks of tilapia. The fish will be sold to restaurants, and the little flecks of waste that they swirl through their tank is sprinkled on the soil of basil plants. The basil is harvested to make pesto produced by the school and sold at the stand.
Remember when schools used to have bake sales? Junior Krystal Anderson works the farm stand, selling pesto along with “applesauce, butter pickles, salsa, zucchini bread, applesauce cakes and cookies.”
Anderson plans to become a food inspector. She says the high school isn’t just about growing and baking, but about the business — big business — of real agriculture. She has partnered with her friend, Heather, on their own line of products.
“It’s called K&H Goods,” Anderson says, “and so … we decide what are we going to be making, how much we are going to make and what are we going to be selling the product for.”
A Working School, A Working Farm
In Richard Johnson’s Ag Finance class, students debate as passionately over what to sell at the farm stand as some students argue about rap versus hip-hop:
“Pumpkin pies are filthy. Sweet potato pie, just an idea,” says one student.
“I’m tired of eatin’ everything zucchini,” says another.
Amid these debates about the farm stand and livestock, the voice of principal William Hook over the P.A. system reminds that Ag High is, of course, a working school. Most of his daily announcements — about the homecoming dance, football scores and detention — blaring through the hallways could be transmitted in more traditional schools.
“There will be detention on Saturday starting this week,” he says. “You must meet at the barn at 8 a.m. and work for the duration of your detention. Thank you, and have a good day.”
Hook thinks the mix — of city and country, academics and enterprise, classroom and street cred (or, in this case, field cred) — strikes a balance in learning. Instead of having students choose between a college track or a vocational track, “We show that you can do both,” he says. “You’ll have students out sixth period in pre-calculus class, and then in seventh period they’re out laying sod. I think that they learn just as much from doing either one of those things. And I think that’s one of the things we do really well here: We prepare them for college and we prepare them for the world of work.”
'Ag Is The Future'
A group of students who are city kids confessed it had not been their life’s ambition to attend an agricultural high school. Several said their parents were eager for them to apply, because the school is academically distinguished. And, it’s notably safe: The metal detector at the school entrance didn’t seem to be in use.
Ryan Shelton, who hopes to go on to college in New York and become an actor, is one of those students who needed to be won over. He says the school has made him a “more well-rounded person. And when you’re in that field of entertainment, one of the things people look at is whether you have that quality, that ‘it’ factor, diverse.”
Dantrell Cotton, a junior, says the school has changed the way he sees the world. “Ag is all around us. It branches off to thousands of occupations,” he says. “No matter what happens economically, that’s one of the industries that remain the same. And ag is the future. Agriculture is the future.”
Some students confide that friends in their urban neighborhoods mock them as “farmers.” Those friends don’t understand farming as a modern, scientific and cosmopolitan enterprise that teaches improvisation and persistence.
“A lot of people don’t understand what we get at this school that nobody else does,” says Melissa Nelson, another junior. “Because what other school can you be like, ‘Oh, yeah, we were out in the field and then the tractor broke down so we had to walk back’?”
The farm stand has many students with special needs working the shelves and helping customers. The teacher who runs the stand, Richard Johnson, used to have a family lawn mower business. But he was intrigued by education, and when the Chicago Public Schools began to open the door for teachers with professional backgrounds in business, arts or the military, Johnson signed on. He now holds forth in what may be the only Chicago high school with bales of hay. Last week, when a customer wanted to rent some for a Halloween party, a couple of Ag students saw an opportunity.
“So, after they made the deal, the kids called me and said, ‘Hey, Mr. Johnson, we got $45. And they’ll bring [the bales] back on Wednesday.’ Entrepreneurship at its best. Not like working at White Castle,” the teacher says. “You have to make decisions. I think the skills we teach, the entrepreneurial skills, they transcend … agriculture.”
By the way, one especially posh local restaurant buys tilapia from Ag High. But the school won’t disclose the name. It seems the chef doesn’t want customers to know that the fish in their tilapia with smoked mushroom aioli and ginger-flavored vegetables isn’t plucked fresh from the Nile but is trucked in — all the way from exotic 111th Street.
Click Here for original article.
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dear mr allen by b j alcanter
i feel we had walked in the same dream even down to the fish and chickens
you had more room and larger dream i just trying to survey on a low fixed income with my 5 yr old grandaughter ive had sence birth but i thought about this while raising my own 7 children alone
now im alot older and broken of body toothless as they come ode to eat a raw carrot celery again i used my denture money for the grandaughter i dont regret that shes a sweety and shes enjoying the love of garden even tho ours is tiny its all i could manage to work out
for the life of me i had asked for help to get a decent size garden going in my yard hoping to get enought food to freeze and use in winter time and help cut cost eat better too and even tho fairview ks is a rural small town help never came no boy scouts −4-h club -no church not even the meninite group around here
i dream of fresh veggies of all kinds fruit ahhh eggs its all better fresh ayiana my grandaughter and i thumb thru the seed catalogs wishing we like flowers too she even took them to show and tell at school
i saw you on abc news clip and had to email you ----you see i was adopted when i was close to 2 yrs old city people but had learned all my people farmed so i know where the love comes from my adoptive grandma had a small garden i would always bug her ask a million questions most never got answered nor was i around when she planted its like a big part of me was missing harvesting i was left out as well i hang my head down reading doesnt do it im a show me person guess rightfuly so born in missouri ha ha
but thank you even tho i might be able to benifet from your garden produce you are helping so many and your big vision dream of tall buildings growing food is great and needed and my LORD knows when i prayed for help the over flow would had gone to the local food pantry to help others you never forget being hungery and i d seen plenty of that in my life few times id do without so my kids had more to eat and id fall to the floor room spining about a terrible headache felt pretty sick kids looking down at me all worried figure that some of the reason im all broke down in my old age now --- guess too felt like a dog with my adoptive parents was ok little like puppy but wasnt so cute older so was dumped on the streets at 16 no matter how hard life gets i couldnt do that to my kids or grandkids
thank you for being you
b j alcanter
Raising Chickens in Milwaukee!
INFORMATION ABOUT RESPONSIBLE CHICKEN CARE IN CITIES
- Most urban chickens are treated like any other pet and their coops are cleaned about as often as dog- owners clean up their yard. Responsible chicken owners will clean a coop a minimum of once a week if not more often.
- The amount of chicken manure produced by six hens is roughly equivalent to the dog droppings produced by a medium-large dog. And, unlike dog or cat poop, chicken manure can be easily composted into garden fertilizer instead of ending up in landfills. [SoPo chickens website: http://www.sailzora.com/chickens; Chicago chicken owners’ experiences]
- On average, hens are far quieter than most dogs, parrots, or macaws. They generally make a soft chuckle or cluck. Occasionally, when they are showing off an egg they’ve just laid, their clucking is slightly louder.
- Normal noises are not audible past 25′, the loudest noises at about 50′.
- Roosters can be loud – for this reason, cities that allow chickens may have prohibitions on roosters. [SoPo chickens website: http://www.sailzora.com/chickens]
Pests and Predators:
- Many animals see chickens as prey: raccoons and loose dogs are the most likely predators in an urban setting. Responsible chicken owners will ensure their chickens are kept in a secured, fenced yard or run during the day and a secure, locked coop at night. [Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, Gaile Damerow.]
- Chickens eat insects of all types, as well as small rodents. In secure yards where chickens are allowed some time to “free range,” the chickens will search out and eat insects such as ticks, fleas, millipedes, earwigs, grubs, beetles, spiders, moths, and worms. Chickens have also been known to eat mice and roaches. [Backyard Chickens: www.backyardchickens.com/forum; experience of Linda Nellett, Chicago resident – 45th ward]
- Chickens also eat many types of plants and green material including those identified as weeds (such as dandelions) and “waste” (such as carrot tops, peels, and wilted or bruised produce.) Gardeners and people interested in urban agriculture see chickens playing a valuable role by eating this excess or unwanted material from the garden and “converting” it into fresh eggs and manure for compost. [Backyard Chickens: www.backyardchickens.com/forum; experience of Linda Nellett]
- While rats may be attracted to chicken feed, they are opportunists. They will scavenge food from the most convenient place: an open trash container or Dumpster, discards dropped by people, food placed outside for cats and dogs, and wild bird and squirrel feeders. Responsible chicken owners store feed in secure containers and do not leave excess food around for rats to eat. [Ken Koelkebeck, PhD, UIUC Extension Poultry Specialist said that rats and mice are drawn to chicken feed, but less likely to be eating chicken manure. Properly designed and constructed coops/enclosures should prevent rats’ access to chicken feed, and feed containers (metal) should be kept covered and secured.]
Human Disease issues:
- Avian influenza of the type contagious to humans has not been found in North America.
- Should avian influenza ever reach North America, it would more likely spread where chickens have contact with the droppings of wild and migratory fowl, such as ponds frequented Canada geese. These are conditions not likely in a small city backyard where only a few chickens reside.
- Salmonella (common enterobacteria, can cause foodborne/gastrointestinal illness) is the other primary concern associated with chicken and eggs. Chickens are no more likely to carry it than parakeets and pet reptiles. Good hand-washing practices are always important after handling animals and their waste. [CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov]
Prepared by Linda Nellett December 2007
Howard Lewis Adds:
As a former chicken owner/raiser and current chicken enthusiast I would like to add a few thoughts based upon hard won experience:
An additional reason not to keep roosters is they can become obnoxiously aggressive. It is their nature. If a young rooster should “imprint” on a human, the problem is magnified. They will compete with humans for dominance. Plus they have spurs.
Hens, on the other hand, are delightful—tending to have individual personalities—hence the concept of “pecking order.”
When cleaning out the coop it is best to compost the bedding and droppings. Chicken manure is “hot”, meaning highly packed with plant nutrients, and may prove too intense if placed directly into gardens. It is better to layer this stuff in with your regular compost, allowing the energy to disperse throughout. The plants will thank you for it.
For cool coop designs and other chicken advice, check out back issues of Mother Earth News (www.motherearthnews.com).
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