A Maryland man’s dream of operating an urban farm is in jeopardy. He’s trying to do it in his back yard, but Baltimore City isn’t so open to the idea. Spending time with Porkington the potbellied pig gives Ulysses Archie a sense of calm. “I have PTSD, so this is what I do to help myself get up every morning,” Archie said.Archie says he is running an urban farm, and caring for animals in the back yard of his Collins Avenue home in southwest Baltimore is therapeutic. But for the city, it’s a bit problematic.Animal Control officers have visited at least six times. Archie has recorded video of the encounters and put it on social media. The Baltimore City Health Department claims it “received several noise complaints of roosters crowing” and “complaints of chickens loose and soiling neighboring properties.””Animal Control officers responded and observed a variety of animals including rabbits, chickens and a pig. The owner of the animals did not have a permit and the number of animals exceeded the allowed limit for a residential property,” said Adam Abadir, with the Baltimore City Health Department.Archie says he had a total of 35 chickens and 18 rabbits that educated children in the community about animals and provided food for his family. “Roosters, I saw roosters back there as well. They are not allowed to be in the city,” an animal control officer said.The roosters are no longer there. The pig is the family pet. According to zoning laws, the urban farm is illegal. Tammy D. Hawley, spokeswoman for Baltimore City Housing and Community Development, told 11 News, “Having animals for personal use does not violate the zoning code. However, the owner would need Zoning Board approval to operate a community farm or urban agriculture business.” Animal Control told Archie the yard looks junky.”They said it was filthy. So, I said, ‘What do you want me to do with the filth that you see? How do you want me to organize it?'” Archie said.”It’s been so frustrating. We have a lot of people in Baltimore City starting to have conversations about land use and sustainability. I think that’s really great, but if all we’re doing is talking and not doing it in real time, in a safe way, of course, then what’s the point of the conversation?” said Chrysaline Archie.The Archies say they don’t quite understand the process, at least not yet, and what it will mean for their farm. The city says they’re trying to work with the couple to try to come up with the best solution. That includes getting a local nonprofit community farm to “provide expertise in animal husbandry and training.” “I’m still trying to keep an urban farm,” said Ulysses Archie.The Archies have filed applications with the state and city for permits to keep a certain number of chickens and rabbits. They said they’ve reached agreements with five neighbors who are housing some of the animals, but they want Mr. Porkington to be neutered in order to stay.Ulysses Archie said, back in 2018, Animal Control officers shut him down when they removed chickens, rabbits and two goats. He believes he’s in a much better situation now, working with the city. A proposal seeking possible zoning changes recently was introduced at the City Council, but it focuses on farmers markets, not urban farms.

A Maryland man’s dream of operating an urban farm is in jeopardy. He’s trying to do it in his back yard, but Baltimore City isn’t so open to the idea.

Spending time with Porkington the potbellied pig gives Ulysses Archie a sense of calm.

“I have PTSD, so this is what I do to help myself get up every morning,” Archie said.

Archie says he is running an urban farm, and caring for animals in the back yard of his Collins Avenue home in southwest Baltimore is therapeutic. But for the city, it’s a bit problematic.

Animal Control officers have visited at least six times. Archie has recorded video of the encounters and put it on social media.

The Baltimore City Health Department claims it “received several noise complaints of roosters crowing” and “complaints of chickens loose and soiling neighboring properties.”

“Animal Control officers responded and observed a variety of animals including rabbits, chickens and a pig. The owner of the animals did not have a permit and the number of animals exceeded the allowed limit for a residential property,” said Adam Abadir, with the Baltimore City Health Department.

Archie says he had a total of 35 chickens and 18 rabbits that educated children in the community about animals and provided food for his family.

“Roosters, I saw roosters back there as well. They are not allowed to be in the city,” an animal control officer said.

The roosters are no longer there. The pig is the family pet.

According to zoning laws, the urban farm is illegal. Tammy D. Hawley, spokeswoman for Baltimore City Housing and Community Development, told 11 News, “Having animals for personal use does not violate the zoning code. However, the owner would need Zoning Board approval to operate a community farm or urban agriculture business.”

Animal Control told Archie the yard looks junky.

“They said it was filthy. So, I said, ‘What do you want me to do with the filth that you see? How do you want me to organize it?'” Archie said.

“It’s been so frustrating. We have a lot of people in Baltimore City starting to have conversations about land use and sustainability. I think that’s really great, but if all we’re doing is talking and not doing it in real time, in a safe way, of course, then what’s the point of the conversation?” said Chrysaline Archie.

urban farm roosters

The Archies say they don’t quite understand the process, at least not yet, and what it will mean for their farm. The city says they’re trying to work with the couple to try to come up with the best solution. That includes getting a local nonprofit community farm to “provide expertise in animal husbandry and training.”

“I’m still trying to keep an urban farm,” said Ulysses Archie.

The Archies have filed applications with the state and city for permits to keep a certain number of chickens and rabbits. They said they’ve reached agreements with five neighbors who are housing some of the animals, but they want Mr. Porkington to be neutered in order to stay.

Ulysses Archie said, back in 2018, Animal Control officers shut him down when they removed chickens, rabbits and two goats. He believes he’s in a much better situation now, working with the city.

A proposal seeking possible zoning changes recently was introduced at the City Council, but it focuses on farmers markets, not urban farms.

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