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Michigan Panel opposes legal shield for city, suburban livestock

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“Why can’t I have 10 rabbits in my back yard in the city if my neighbor can have four barking Rottweilers?”

By John Flesher
Associated Press
Mar 15, 2015

Excerpt:

Traverse City — People who raise chickens or other livestock in cities and suburban residential areas should not have the protection from nuisance lawsuits that Michigan grants to farmers in the countryside, says a report to the state’s agricultural policymakers released Sunday.

Backyard farming should continue to be regulated through local zoning ordinances, although the state should encourage the practice and develop guidelines on matters such as proper animal care, waste management and slaughter methods, said the document by the Urban Livestock Workgroup.

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March 29, 2015   Comments Off on Michigan Panel opposes legal shield for city, suburban livestock

In pinched Soviet times ‘dacha gardens’ grew some 90 percent of Russia’s vegetables

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German Shingel fills a tub for watering the garden under the watchful eye of his father, Yevgeniy. To outwit Russia’s short growing season, many dacha owners set flats of seedlings on their urban windowsills in March. Photograph by Jonas Bendiksen.

One out of three Russians owns a dacha. In the Moscow region, where there are some one million dachas. Boris’s dacha, like most in Valday, is a garden plot with a cabin. Such plots, originally six sotkas (.15 acre), date back to Soviet-era land distribution programs that allowed Russians to endure postwar food shortages made worse by the disaster of centrally planned agriculture.

By Cathy Newman
Photograph by Jonas Bendiksen
National Geographic
July 2012
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

The soil is sacred, almost mystical to Russians, a legacy of pagan beliefs and peasant tradition. “The religion of the soil,” philosopher Nikolay Berdyayev called it. A dacha provides the opportunity to dig in that soil and be close to nature. “By the end of the day I am tired and stressed,” a Valday woman tells me. “I go to the garden, touch the ground, and bad things go away.”

In July the soil yields cucumbers and feathery dill, also squash, peas, and green onions. July is for berries: black, red, and white currants; blueberries; blackberries; raspberries; gooseberries; and delicately perfumed wild strawberries, which, even more than the resinous astringency of pine, is the smell of summer. August brings mushrooms (a light rain is known as a “mushroom rain”): the prized beliy, or white mushroom, and boletes that grow near birch trees and can be dried. Also potatoes—always potatoes. A Valday garden is unthinkable without them, although they cost less to buy than grow.

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March 29, 2015   Comments Off on In pinched Soviet times ‘dacha gardens’ grew some 90 percent of Russia’s vegetables