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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

WSU Spokane offers Urban Goat certification classes


​So you want to keep goats in the City of Spokane? Under the recently passed Urban Livestock ordinance you will be able to starting May 9th ig you have taken an urban animal management class through WSU Spokane County Extension. The focus of the class will be to provide Spokane residents with the basics of keeping goats in an urban setting.

DATES: Thursday May 8 (20 seats) OR Thursday, May 22 (40 seats)
TIMES: 6:30 pm to 9 pm
LOCATION: WSU Spokane County Extension, 222 N. Havana, Spokane WA, 99202
COST: $20 per family at the same address.
PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED: Online HERE
By mail: Checks made payable to WSU Spokane County Extension and sent to the above address.

The new Goat Standard

By spending nearly a year meeting with neighborhood groups and others to develop an urban farming plan that addressed various concerns before bringing it to a final vote, Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart has created an unexpected new problem.

Any plan on almost any topic that the City Council considers from now on is likely to be criticized by opponents as "rushed" and inadequately "vetted," with critics pointing to the sweeping community efforts taken by Stuckart to win support for allowing Spokane residents to raise small livestock in their backyards if they want.

Call it the new Goat Standard for community and stakeholder involvement.

Mayor David Condon used it to drive home his concerns that the City Council rushed its anti-sprawl measure to a final vote without adequately involving the community to identify and address any legitimate concerns. Condon, who vetoed the measure, noted that the anti-sprawl didn't get the laudably expansive efforts Stuckart took to craft the urban farming plan.

Developers also picked up on it.
 
Stuckart, for his part, already is growing weary of the tactic.
 
"Just because I set a high benchmark with urban farming, doesn't mean every ordinance is going to go through a yearlong process," he said. "We're not going to be doing that on everything."
 
Regardless, expect to hear various renditions of the Goat Standard in the months ahead, particularly on issues that tend to divide the officially nonpartisan council along its partisan 4-3 split.

Has the Dream of the ‘90s found its way to Spokane?

Spokane's latest push to expand urban farming opportunities had at least one councilman wondering if TV sketch comedians Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein might be lurking nearby.

"Sometimes when I'm reading this ordinance I feel like I've landed in an episode of "Portlandia,'" Councilman Mike Allen said during this week's debate over allowing small livestock such as goats, sheep and pigs to be raised in residential neighborhoods. "People are trying to create something that may or may not be good for an area."

The urban farming plan was approved Monday night by the City Council and was described by supporters as a way of helping Spokane residents to embrace more sustainable lifestyles.

Allen, who raises chickens, supported plans to ease restrictions on growing and selling fruits, vegetables and produce in residential areas but opposed plans to allow backyard livestock, though he was out-voted.

Whether that means "The Dream of '90s" is now alive in Spokane remains to be seen.

 

Project Hope announces Executive Director position

Are you looking for a sweet gig? Project Hope, one of our best examples of urban farming, is hiring an executive director.  The non-profit creates opportunities for youth enrichment in Spokane’s West Central and Emerson Garfield neighborhoods through community engagement, job training, and education.

Here are the details:

Description: Provide oversight and financial management, lead development, fundraising, and communications.

Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in related field or five years of experience in leadership and program development in a non-profit,
educational institution, or equivalent.

Urban Farming open house for Spokane

In response to increasing local interest in Urban Farming, the City Council and Planning and Development Services Department are leading an effort to research, evaluate and develop a system to better support and provide regulations for Urban Farming.

Image courtesy of Project Hope Spokane, one of our best examples of urban farming. 

The workshop will be for the purpose of discussing ideas and generating comments on possible changes to City code that could create a more consistent, predictable and stream-lined system for Urban Farmers.

Another Green Monday

Oh Hoopfest. This year DTE regrettably decided to watch from the sidelines as Spokane hosted the preeminent three on three basketball tournament in the world. All we could do is talk trash and make sure players decided to shoot for the recycle bins. Yes, we were disappointed by the lack of recycling information considering the massive scale of the event. The Downtown Partnership touted its four recycling bins, hardly a cause for dancing in the streets considering the 200, 000 players and fans, most with bottles in hand. We even caught CH2M Hill as a court sponsor, thinking they could hide from us. DTE never forgets. Despite all the moaning, Hoopfest remains an extraordinary event where everybody comes to play the best game on Earth, in our humble hoop dream opinion. Maybe the early morning pessimism stems from a case of the Mondays—-we just punched each other for saying that—-on a day that should be best spent out on the river. Here are some interesting stories you might’ve missed during the madness.



Photo of The Plastiki. (Image courtesy of ecorazzi)

Message in a bottle (on a ship of bottles). With respect to Thor Heyerdahl’s famous voyage, a ship of plastic bottles called “The Plastiki” will sail the Pacific on an 11,000 mile journey to send a message. “Waste is fundamentally a design flaw. We wanted to design a vessel that would epitomize waste being used as a resource,” said expedition leader David de Rothschild in the AP. Named after Heyerdahl’s 1947 “Kon-Tiki” raft, one of the team members is Josian Heyerdahl, an environmental scientist, the granddaughter of the explorer. The plan is for “The Plastiki” to be a 60-foot catamaran with the hulls made of 10,000 empty bottles stacked to make it float. No word on when they’ll set sail. Full story HERE. Also, check out their homepage, at theplastiki.com. 

Dear Science: Meet the new boss…same as the old boss? By now, we hope readers are aware of the overwhelming evidence that the White House of yesteryear censored reports on global warming to delay action. So we rejoiced when Obama said “the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over.” However, new reports claimed the Obama administration went the other route by having the EPA suppressing science to fit its own ideology on climate action. Say it ain’t so. (Okay, spoiler alert: The agency rejected the report because the dude was an economist pretending to be a climatologist. What a mix-up!) Full coverage of this debacle in truthiness HERE.