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5 Tips to Keep Great Neighbors

Cranky neighbors take the fun out of urban farming. Follow these tips to help everyone get along.

By Lisa Munniksma

Let’s face it: The average city dweller just doesn’t think of chickens and bees in the backyard as “normal.” Living a sustainable lifestyle is going to generate questions from those around you, so be prepared to handle some raised eyebrows (and worse). You’ve no doubt read about urban-farmer evictions and neighbor-induced lawsuits, but you can stop neighborhood issues before they get that far.

Here are five tips to help you and your neighbors live a long, happy life together:

1. Invite them for tea. When your neighbors understand what’s happening behind that fence of yours, they're more likely to be understanding of a stray bee or three.

2. Build good fences. A flower-gardening aficionado won’t be happy when your chickens rummage his or her prized petunias, so keep your hens where they belong.

3. Keep it clean. If you can smell your goat pen, so can your neighbors. Keep your urban farm spic and span, and no one will have a reason to complain.

4. Mask the ugly. No one wants to live next to a junk yard. Keep your garden tools neat and your compost bin neater to give the right appearance.

5. Sweeten the deal. A carton of eggs or jar of honey can go a long way to smooth over negative feelings across a fence.

Give us your opinion on 5 Tips to Keep Great Neighbors.
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Pretty good tips.
Sarah, Marathon, ON
Posted: 4/5/2014 9:02:39 AM
Lorna, Poplarfield, MB
Posted: 1/1/2014 2:19:34 PM
we had pigs in a pen right outside the kitchen and you did not notice them because they were not confined to a small area and were free range and fed milk & feed not stuck in a barn.
Lorna, Poplarfield, MB
Posted: 7/8/2013 7:20:36 PM
No animals yet, but my neighbors keep urging me to get chickens! My huge front-yard veggie garden is a bit unruly, but people like it — I use big, sidewalk-facing labels so people can see what's what, and I make signs about things like how potatoes grow underground; how the black tomatoes were bred and what open-pollinated means; how you can guess which kind of beet will grow from each seedling, etc. I also keep a blog - what's growing in the garden, how to prepare and eat the things I grow, and local food and garden events (www.PlantandPlate.com). No complaints yet!
Claire at plantandplate.com, El Cerrito, CA
Posted: 5/10/2013 11:37:21 AM

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