Archive for March, 2010

Chickens in the News

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

We’ve been following the national backyard chicken movement pretty closely.

Every day at least two articles about backyard chicken keeping comes through the google news feed.  There have been uprisings and heated county debates over the last two years as citizens force local government to rethink their anti-agriculture policies.

Many chicken lovers and food lovers have found themselves in a fight for their right to keep a few chickens and reconnect with their own food growing instincts, regain control over their food sources and security, and begin to extricate from a dangerous dependence on global corporatized food.

Every once in a  while a real gem of an article comes through the feed.  One that captures the essence of the desires and fears of our times, as played out by the characters of Governing Body and Citizen.

Here’s a dispatch from Dan Brawner of The Mt. Vernon-Lisbon Sun, Iowa.

Chicken Names and a New Era of Fashion

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

My mom just told me that one of our regular customers came in today, he has 3 Rhode Island Red/White Leghorn hens.  While telling my mom how much he loves them, he mentioned their names:  Barbie, Teri and Ginger.  Pretty creative, cute and ironic all at the same time.

It gave us the idea to start a never ending list of the names of  chickens that have hatched at Asagi Hatchery.  It will be a new page on our website.  So please send in names of your chickens.  First and last names please.  If you are are up for it, you may also include their portraits. Email:  lisa@asagihatchery.com.

Speaking of which.  We remember how much you all like the chicken diaper YouTube posts.  So when another customer, Wes, emailed us this –

we knew you’d enjoy as much as we did:  chicken suit fashion show on Golzberg

Femivore’s Dilemma

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Little more than a week ago, the New York Times revisited its fascination with the backyard chicken movement with an article examining if it might also be an indication of how women are responding to circumstances of the present and looking at the future.

Plus we like the title, since we are a female powered business.  We also think the continuing discussion and thought about why so many of us are revitalizing the art of chicken raising and food growing is a valuable one.

Here’s a link of to the article here, so have a read.

Let us know what you think about this.

75 Years and Growing

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

It’s been an intense last couple of months at the hatchery.  Mostly because we feel it is a momentous year for us.

Asagi Hatchery makes 75 years in these next months.  When we look back we see not only our own journey, but the path of the 20th century that has shaped and affected us all.  For better and for worse.

The first 25 years, 1935-59, we started off and grew as a farm and hatchery right on Damon Tract.  A place where my grandfather, all of his brothers and one sister worked together and raised their young families.  Hatching and raising chickens, selling eggs and chicken right from the farm gate.  A real actual wooden farm gate.  They really did exist.

1960 marked the birth of the hatchery right here at 1830 Kanakanui Street, a year after Statehood and the eviction of all of the farmers and residents of Damon Tract to make way for industrial development around the Honolulu International Airport. These next 25 years were the Jet Age Waikiki Suburban boom years right up to 1985, the peak of poultry production in Hawai’i.

In 1985 there were over 21 egg farms and 4 broiler operations.  Then the decline for local businesses started to accelerate in the late 80’s, with the U.S. government’s dismantling of regulations in business that protected small businesses that were the local and family owned ones.  This included farms.  This is when we all started to see more of the same stores and businesses in all of our home towns, and the slow shuttering of our own.

This year, marks our 75th anniversary.  And we want it to be about more than just surviving.  We have chosen to reinvent ourselves, just like our Grandfather Mike did.  We’d like that farm part back.  But maybe a different kind of farm.  We like the country store that Mike’s mom ran and where Mike learned to raise chickens when he was growing up.  We like the hatchery part and we better because we are the only commercial hatchery left in this part of the Pacific.

We like the possibilities that the internet has created too and connecting with not only other chicken lovers and farmers, but also island communities all over the Pacific that are striving to build their own sustainable food systems on their islands, and including chickens in those plans.

So along with the day to day operations, we’re changing things around and planting seeds all over the place.  And perfect timing, because this year is going to be one hell of a ride for agriculture in Hawai’i, not only for farmers but for everyone.

It’s about food and it’s about liberty.  And like our friend Michelle Galimba of Kua’hiwi Ranch said, “It’s about our ability to feed ourselves.”

And not just feed ourselves, but to feed ourselves real food.  It’s also about the freedom to just livelihoods as well.

We might grumble about having to wake up at 4:30 to take the chicks out of the hatchers, but it never just feels like a job.  Holding a chick in our hands makes the world feel ok again.  The smell of an open bag of feed is more comforting than we are willing to admit.  We love our customers and stress instantly melts away when we hear those stories of chicken love, like the roommate who would steal one of our customer’s chicken at night when she got home from work, how he would find them both asleep on her bed, chicken nestled in a towel shaped like a nest in the roommate’s arms.  He had a cell phone photo to prove it.

We think this is what it must feel like to have a livelihood.  The word even sounds like something one should be excited about.  And we’re kind of overwhelmed at times, but inside, in our hearts, we’re excited.

At first we thought we needed to have some kind of party or event to commemorate.  We’re thinking about it.   We’re also thinking of pouring that energy and effort the building and reshaping, the growing.  Having the celebration be every day and each step closer to where we would now like to be.

Yes, after all these years.  We feel that we are on the cusp of another beginning.