After raising chickens for the last 25 years we have come to the realization that we just don’t want to take the time to do it anymore. We love the delicious, fluffy eggs they produce, and use their manure to feed the garden. When we first started with chickens, finding fresh organic eggs was much more difficult. As a matter of fact, finding fresh organic grown food of any type was more difficult, hence part of the reason for starting our now very large vegetable garden.
These days driving from work to our home we pass an organic vegetable farm with attached “farm stand”. Just next door there is a lady who raises chickens and feeds them organically. Again, there is a little farm stand attached where you leave the money and retrieve the eggs from a small refrigerator. We also have at least 3 farmers markets within 12 miles of here. These places didn't exist 25 years ago.
We have decided that once our chickens have stopped producing, we will not replace them. The garden is going to shrink in physical size also, but not disappear. We still find joy raising vegetables and fruit for fresh picking. What will happen is we won’t feel the need to fill up every square inch of garden space as we have in the past. It will cut down on the amount of time necessary to maintain what is a very large garden spread. We also want to support the people who have made it their business to grow fresh, organic food.
I think as we see more locally produced organic sources of food become available you’ll see this trend grow. Some people will always want to raise their own food, and that’s great. However, I think you will see more people doing what we are doing, and as such the trend of “growing you own” food will plateau, if it hasn't already. That’s OK, since we have come so far over the last 25 years in making available organic, locally grown food. Some will still need to grow their own for a variety of reasons. We live in a very special place, and not everyone has this opportunity like we do. Still, I see this as a very positive trend.