Great Eggs-pectations: CLUCK aims to get chickens on campus
In a recent student initiative which has received support from Trustee Jason "Eddie" Speir, chickens could be coming to campus. Photo courtesy of Flickr

Great Eggs-pectations: CLUCK aims to get chickens on campus

To the average New College student, CLUCK—which stands for Collaborative Learning and Urban Chicken Keeping—sounds like the exact right kind of ridiculous to become a longstanding New College tradition. Thesis students and Garden Coordinators Nick Beck and Gus Frank have led the charge to get chickens in the Caples garden and Food Forest. So what, exactly, is CLUCK? And what does Trustee Eddie Speir have to do with it all?

Urban chicken keeping has exploded in popularity in recent years, and it’s been a little over a decade since CLUCK Sarasota, a similar organization under the same name, was able to help pass legislation allowing for backyard chicken keeping. The Food Forest was first founded in 2017 for an Independent Study Project (ISP) with the intention to include chickens in the long-term. Beck had more to say, including the position that Speir has seemed to have taken on the CLUCK proposal.

“Since then, there’s been a running half-joke, half pipe-dream about bringing chickens to campus,” Beck wrote via email. “After the appointment of new trustees, some students began sharing their hopes for chickens with Trustee Speir. Speir took interest in this idea and had been looking to get in contact with the students who were advocating pro-chickens, which eventually became Gus and I, two of the three garden space coordinators.

“Our meeting went really well with Eddie,” Beck continued. “He seems genuinely invested in understanding student wants and needs and is passionate about the CLUCK proposal in part because of the opportunity for him to work with students on a bi-partisan subject and set politics aside.”

Their plan now is to expand the academic utility of the garden and maintain it to the extent that it could support chickens, assuming the demand on campus is as significant as they think it is. With a Landscape and Signage Committee coming soon, Beck alluded to Speir again being willing to bring this proposal forwards to the Board of Trustees (BOT).

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Jono Miller

    A New College student (now alumna) was the catalyst for legalizing backyard chickens in the City of Sarasota. In 2009, Nancy Rose Spector was living on nearby Leeta Lane while keeping several hens, illegally, in the backyard. She was fearful that a code enforcement truck might pull up at any time and take her pets. That seemed harsh, considering the hens were not aggravating neighbors. When I discussed her plight with others, I was surprised at how many people thought a few backyard hens should be legalized. That led to meetings, the acronym name: Citizens Lobbyingfor Urban Chicken Keeping (CLUCK) suggested by Rebecca Greer, and the start of the Sarasota CLUCK blog, which now has over 292,000 page views. Another New College chicken keeper, Megan Jourdan, was interviewed in 2011 when backyard chickens were finally legalized in the City on a three-year trial basis. In 2014, the trial was over and the campaign shifted to the County. Megan’s tame ambassador hen, a buff Brahma named Sarah, was featured in both Sarasota Magazine and December 2011/January 2012 issue of Backyard Poultry Magazine. That issue featured 12 Tips To Help You Legalize Owning Chickens in Your Community. I think it is fair to say backyard chickens would not be legal in Sarasota were it not for New College students and alumns. In addition, there was an alumna, (name escapes me at the moment) who I was working with to bring chickens to campus. I believe she died unexpectedly, halting that effort.

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