Chicken Fun: Tour de Coops Returns

Written by Marilyn Hawkes Category: Culture Issue: November 2015

Photo courtesy Tour de CoopsIf you’re ready to join the back-to-the-garden movement, you might want to attend the Valley Permaculture Alliance’s 7th Annual Tour de Coops on Saturday, Nov. 14.

The one-day, self-guided tour of eight of downtown Phoenix’s finest backyard chicken coops will highlight interactive examples of how to incorporate chickens into a sustainable backyard garden.

“Our goal is to educate the community about keeping hens, delight them with garden ideas and provide inspiration to live sustainably,” says Sarah Osteen, VPA executive director. “We also hope to energize those on the fence to jump into urban chicken-keeping and sustainable living practices.”

The tour starts at Tour Headquarters - Southwest Autism Resource & Research Center (SARRC) - where all participants will get maps and wristbands for access to the backyard coops. Tour Headquarters serves as the first coop on the tour and will also feature children’s craft activities, live music and food trucks.

Sites on the tour sport clever names, such as The Chick-Inn, Growhouse Golden Girls, Dolce Verde and Mahna Mahna. At each spot, coop owners will present an “egg-ucational” topic and share their insights about chicken care, coop design and maintaining harmony among the chickens.

The “egg-ucational” topics include: Social Enterprise; Aquaponics; Chicken Breeds and Feeds; Compost; School Gardens; Chicken Zoning Regulations; Seed Planning and Saving; and Water Harvesting.

Participants can drive or take part in the “tour by bicycle” option led by Phoenix Spokes People. Cyclists will ride at a slow pace, but expect to bike for 18 miles with about two hours of saddle time, according to Osteen. There will be a no-host lunch stop during the ride, which is not rollerblade-friendly or conducive to families with small children.

Organizers expect 800-1,000 participants and the tour will take place rain or shine.

If you go:
Who: Valley Permaculture Alliance
What: 7th Annual “Tour de Coops”
Where: Starts at Southwest Autism Resource & Research Center, 2225 N. 16th St., Phoenix
When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14
Cost: in advance, $20 per person, ages 13 and up; under 12 free; day of the event, $30