Bad news from Mexico leads to Chicken Nostalgia…

Barrett chopping food for chickens

I was startled to hear a report on NPR this morning on the impact of Avian Flu in Mexico. Here‘s an excerpt from the report:

“Prices jumped when producers were forced this summer to slaughter 11 million hens after an outbreak of avian flu in the central Mexican state of Jalisco. Just last week, officials said the figure was really closer to 20 million. Prices were about 18 to 20 pesos a kilo, or around $1.50 for 18 eggs. Now, they’ve risen to more than 40 pesos per kilo (about $3). It’s a steep price increase for millions of Mexicans who live in extreme poverty.

The egg price spikes and shortages got so rough that President Felipe Calderon took to the airwaves, vowing to crack down on speculators and reduce tariffs on imported eggs.”

The link to the story is here: http://tinyurl.com/99vja9e

For the millions of Mexicans struggling in poverty, this is a devastating price increase for a food that is a staple in their diet. (According to the report Mexicans eat more eggs per person than any other country in the world, and on average they eat twice as many as people in the United States.)

No need to buy eggs

Thankfully, since 2002 Plant With Purpose has been promoting family chicken projects in Mexico. These projects typically involve a small family flock of chickens with 20-25 birds. These flocks not only provide eggs for family consumption, but also provide enough eggs to sell on the local market, meat and manure for fertilizing crops. Over 625 families have started their own flocks.

These small local flocks protect Oaxacan families against price shocks caused by outbreaks of disease and other disasters, dramatically increasing local food security and economic well-being.

This story had me thinking nostalgically about our own little flock of chickens, which we had for about two year. Though there was a downside to having chickens (mess, clucking at 5:30 AM, etc.) we loved not having to buy eggs and also having a place to put all out kitchen scraps. Also, the eggs tasted way better than anything you could buy in the store. Hmm…I’m going to be doing some traveling this winter, so I may have to be patient, but after that, the chickens are calling…

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