Hot on Hens
Effective October 10, 2012, Billings City Ordinance 12-5580 allows for city residents to keep up to six hens, provided they purchase a permit and follow the restrictions in the ordinance. Dave Klein, Animal Control Supervisor, reported that 76 permits have been sold to date. See ci.billings.mt.us and search “animal code” for more information or permit application.
For more information: billingsparks.org/community-gardens ci.billings.mt.us/animalcode co.yellowstone.mt.gov/extension/ horticulture ewg.org facebook.com/ yellowstonefarmersmarket goodearthmarket.coop healthybydesignyellowstone.org nongmoproject.org scentsofbalance.com/csa
Top: Kate Rossetto looks over one of her gardens in late June, before the heat of July sets in. She has been organically farming the same 1-1/3 acres in Billings since 1996. Maggie Zaback is thrilled with her “share” at Kate’s Garden in late June. Next page top: Al Pehler and Bobbi Otte plant the last of the squash at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church’s Community Garden in late June. Below: Each week, 12 members, or shareholders, arrive at Kate’s Garden for their share of that week’s organic produce harvest. The yield and variety of goods varies from with the season and the growing conditions, but is always split evenly between the members.
area residents grow their own food. “There’s a growing awareness about where our food comes from, and people are nervous about the products on the food we eat and about what we are putting into our bodies,” she said. Grandpre attributes that awareness to the growing popularity of farmer’s markets. “It’s a slow trend in coming to Billings,” she said, “but it’s here.” Grandpre helped Ashley learn more about composting. Varied county extension agents, each with a specialty, are comprehensive sources of information on everything from how to manage a backyard flock, to composting or preserving food.
Community Support Agriculture (CSAs) Seventy-year-old Kate Rossetto spends the majority of her waking hours in her gardens. As owner of Scents of Balance and Kate’s Garden, it’s the tool of the trade. Yet, for Kate, it is more than that; farming is a way of life. Kate has been growing herbs for skin care products since the 1960s and farming nearly that long. “I’ve always had an innate ability to work with plants,” she said, “and my focus is on well-being. But I feel that aspects of what I do are getting lost—people don’t know how to grow their own food. If future generations don’t give back to the land, I honestly think we will have a shortage of food.” Kate believes in supporting local producers, and she farms 1-1/3 acres organically. Though her gardens are not officially certified as organic, Kate avoids chemical of all types and sells produce to Good Earth Market along with the 12 members of Kate’s Garden CSA—a small, informal cooperative including members and a farmer. Each member receives an equal “share” of the harvest weekly. CSAs are a
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solution for those who cannot grow their own, yet want the benefits of locally-grown produce. Carol Wardell, another long-time gardener, cannot grow as large of a garden as she wants, and so she joined Kate’s Garden CSA. “It is important to me that I eat locally-grown, organic produce,” said Wardell, “plus Kate seeks out heritage seeds and side-steps big corporations.” The majority of CSA members are “into healthy eating and concerned about our food sources,” said Kate. A typical share in early July included lettuce, spinach, braising greens, snap peas, beets, scallions, rainbow radishes and herbs. The variety changes by the natural growing season and weather—sharing the bounty literally describes the CSA.
Community Gardens Dave Kimball, retired from the U.S. Air Force, helped
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