Support for Tabitha Farm to keep their goats
Support for Tabitha Farm to keep their goats
Why this petition matters
Recently we were given a zoning violation for our farm animals. I need a meeting with the Chief of Public Saftey where I can plead my case and get him to write a letter giving us permission to have our animals (weird ordinance, I know). Here is our story.
I own and operate a 2 acre urban farm called Tabitha Farm in the City of Kalamazoo with my husband Mamadou Bodian and my family of 5 children, and sometimes his 4 other children when they visit us. We have lived here for close to 13 years.
Throughout these years we have given extensively to the community through various projects. From 2012 to 2016 we ran a Free Farm Stand every Sunday from May to Novemeber where we gave away tons of free fruits and vegetables to our neighbors and friends. We have had hosted events where we have had well known social justice and food justice advocates come speak here as free events for the community. These include 1992 Noble Peace Prize winner Rigaberta Menchu Tum who came here in the Spring of 2011 for WMUs Peace Jam's volunteer event. At that event volunteers built an African Keyhole Bed for our community garden. In the Spring of 2012 we had Food Justice advocate Malik Yakini from D Town Farm in Detroit come speak about food justice and food sovereignty, followed by a community potluck. We have hosted community BBQs where my husband would cook traditional Senegalese goat BBQ. We have had other community events throughout the years. My husband works in a group home with folks who have developmental disabilities. He makes it practice to bring his residents here in the warmer months to get some animal therapy with the chickens, rabbits and goats.
We have cultivated this Urban Farm where we practice a form of regenative agriculture and permaculture. What was once an abadoned lot full of weeds, grass and debris now lives over 30 fruit and nut trees and bushes we have planted, a large asparagus bed, perennial pollinating flowers and herbs and the farm animals that make it possible for us to have regenerated the soil on this urban lot. 12 years ago I had the soil tested through the State of Michigan to rule out harmful forever chemicals. Every year since we have cultivated the soil with our animal manure and permculture growing practices, to where we have a healthy bit of soil over here that has fed our expansive garden. Along with our perennial plants and regional native fruit trees and shrubs, we also have 6 bee hives for honey, many chickens, rabbits and goats. We husband these animals for food for our large family and for our friend's families. We also built a geodesic dome greenhouse for our small nursery business that supplements our income. With the goods that we grow and prepare here on the farm, we have been a long standing vendor at the Kalamazoo Farmer's Market and the 100 Mile Market before that.
The reason I need this meeting with Chief Coakley is because we just received a zoning violation for our animals in the mail. We have alwsys operated on the fringes of our local ordinances, but since we have a good relationship with our neighbors and all the good we have done in the community, we have been able to practice loose with these ordinances. The violation notice states that by 2/26/2022 we have to move our chickens and rabbits further from the property line than they are currently. This will be no problem for us to accomplish. The other thing we have to do is we need a written letter from the Chief of Public Saftey to give us permission to have goats. This is why we need this meeting. My plan is to prepare a great Power Point for him and present that with letters of support from our community and this petition. I am hopeful this will compell him to write us a permission letter.
The neighborhood (South Side) our farm located has always been a higher crime area. We have active drug houses, and in the advent of Covid we have had a inordinate amount of gun violence right across the street from us on South Burdick where many people have been shot, injured or killed. The Farm offers a little bit of respite for our large, lower income family and some of our neighbors who choose to hang our here and let their children play here in the warmer months. Please consider signing this petition. I would greatly appreciate it from the depths of my heart.