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Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Muse Awards... and... URBAN CHICKENS!

Because of our passive solar prefab house kits that bring affordable energy efficiency to consumers, Green Modern Kits was nominated for a Muse Award, which recognizes creative businesses in Virginia...
...and... We won a Muse Award!!!

This is what I had written earlier about our philosophy:
We believe your home should not just be gorgeous but should function, and reduce your systems demands. 
I think energy efficiency can be encouraged not with more regulation and certification, but with fashionable education, honeychiles. If people stop viewing cul-de-sacs along four lane highways as a pretty way to live, if people view smart growth and walkability as fashionable vs. bloated subdivisions eating up countryside... then maybe fashion can have a great impact on raising the gorgeous smart growth consciousness of many, quickly.
Sustainability does not just incorporate architectural efficiency; a home's design must be something with which people are in love, so that they commit to it, and pass on that structure to future generations.

Often people fall in love with our prefab house kits before they understand their intent to function; they love first and learn later.
But sustainability does not just encompass LEED certification.
Sustainability should question why ChemLawn drenched lawns are legal and allowed next to neighboring natural, food producing yards.  
Sustainability should question why multiple barking Mastiffs are ok per zoning vs. a few laying hens that can provide a family with nourishment, connection to their food, and reduce waste and strain on our community's municipal services.

And for my muse and inspiration?
I would like to thank all the households that were not nominated for a prestigious award but who choose to reduce their footprint and encourage their individual households to be sustainable, often despite local zoning, and make their small footprint, frugal, food producing homes look gorgeous so their neighbors then see it as desirable and work to do the same. 
It's a sustainable lifestyle choice, honeychiles.
All over, thanks to, yes, trendy fashionable press in national magazines and newspapers, families are taking these steps to become more independent, to reduce their waste, and raise their children eating hormone and chemical free local food. These are the families I'd like to recognize as MY muse, and hope that zoning everywhere begins to see and recognize them as benefiting our city, fashionably.
HOWEVER, it was a rough day, completely my fault.
What YOU don't know is that today, an article came out where I was *advocating* for urban chickens except the article basically read: "COPELAND CASATI HAS ILLEGAL CHICKENS!"

I have tried to discuss the matter several times with our local government, bringing sheets of information, links to how much this is supported and encouraged to reduce a community's waste throughout the nation. They wouldn't even put it on the docket to discuss, despite the group that showed up.

In this article, I really do believe the writer thought they were talking to an advocate PLUS coop revealer. So I will not correct that. I mean, really, I *did* say to stop living in the shadows and to make sustainability, not just LEED accreditation, a spotlight. So, I swallow with trepidation and face it. I did it, I'll own it. But in the meantime, if you live in Richmond and think this is crazy that families can't have a few hens then... the best thing you can do is call, email, and voice your opinion in support of sustainability and urban chickens to your local government.

SO, here we were being feted by Virginia at the Virginia Museum and all I can think about is, "While we're here, what if they come for our chickens?!? What will grandma say if animal control shows up while she's babysitting?!?"
Good grief.
I really do hope they start reading what their *colleagues* are doing in other cities (much less Belgium is asking people to have chickens to reduce waste!)  instead of hurting our family. But... I own this.
I never would have skirted the law except they refused to even put it on the docket to discuss after multiple attempts to bring it up. My children's health is too important to wait for them to "get it" when the rest of the nation, their colleagues, are educating themselves and condoning urban chickens.

So yes, I made a choice: To connect my children to one more chemical free, hormone free food source at an affordable price while teaching them responsibility, caring for and handling animals, and project management.

Really, zoning, is that such a bad thing?!?

When you start getting award winning Virginia firms surreptitiously keeping hens and school board members happily volunteering to be their chicken sitters, maybe you should frickin' take a closer look at what your PEERS nationally are doing.

Why am I so passionate about this?
Here's a good case study of why I fight for urban chickens: 

I really can't believe families in need can't care for a few hens. I really can't believe our government was *begging* for us to raise hens in recent memory, yet now it is eschewed.
That's why I question today's convention: I'm kinda siding with Uncle Sam, who is imploring me to be sustainable. So why doesn't city council get it? Zoning? Hello? Hellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllooooooooooooooooo....
Honeychiles I'm just following federally mandated precedent:

P.s.  My neighbor's out-of-town guests just told us how enthralled with our chickens they were while visiting this week; said my next-door neighbors had told them how much fun it was to live next door to them, and how their own city, Dallas, has great coop / garden tours... Yes, DALLAS...

At the end of the day, this might just make me a Chicken Anarchist. That would be highly inconvenient as I enjoy bathing. ; )

And P.p.s.: Zoning: The chickens are now gone. But in city yards everywhere, in a residential neighborhood near you... they're baaaaaaack.

VMFA Muse Awards from Copeland Casati on Vimeo.

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At 6/17/10, 11:41 AM , Anonymous G. said...

I recently saw on the news that Lyme Disease is on the upswing in VA. Backyard chickens eat ticks preventing them from eating on you. Let's hear it for the Chicken Lady!

At 6/17/10, 4:38 PM , Blogger Suzanne said...

What a cute chick with an important mission! Congrats, Copeland!

At 6/18/10, 10:30 AM , Blogger Passive Solar Prefab Homes said...

Having the VMFA call me a chick just *totally* made my millenium! : )


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