My favourite little Jossie with some of our chickens.

Having a flock of chickens in your backyard is the in thing this year. The New York Times recently ran a story in its weekend Magazine on women who call themselves femivores.

They embrace the life of their grandmothers and great-grandmothers, which is that of  a farm wife. But, god forbid! Do not ever call them that. They are femivores.

And the pinnacle of femivoredom is to have a flock of egg-laying chickens.

Yes, these are women described this way by NY Times writer Peggy Orenstein: “All of these gals — these chicks with chicks — are stay-at-home moms, highly educated women who left the work force to care for kith and kin. I don’t think that’s a coincidence: the omnivore’s dilemma has provided an unexpected out from the feminist predicament, a way for women to embrace homemaking without becoming Betty Draper.”

It’s all part of the trend of knowing where your food comes from. In Ontario, a battle is developing between those who let their chickens run free to grub for worms and fresh grass and those who mass-produce and market their eggs — those controversial caged hens who have never felt sunlight or  scratched real earth or felt the fear of a predator swooping down in search of a quick and tasty lunch — through the egg marketing board. The eggs laid by pastured hens just taste better (and I can vouch for that) say the customers who are willing to drive out of their way and  remember secret passwords to get those eggs, according to the Globe and Mail.

In Vancouver, the city council recently drew up a bylaw permitting every resident to have up to four laying hens in their backyards. It’s a “green” initiative which is a small part of that city’s attempt to support  something called “food security” — the ability of the populace to always have a guaranteed, nutritious food supply.

Does this sound crazy? Not to me. I’ve grown my own veggies and fruits for years, foraged for wild mushrooms, and now have chickens that lay a steady supply of eggs. Some day, we’ll try raising a pig. I adore eating good food, and these things keep me connected with where a lot of that food comes from. I am in love with the process as much as the end result. That’s not to say I am fearful or suspicious of imported food. I crave mangoes, and Asian fish sauce and fine coffee. I can’t do without my drawer full of exotic spices. And unique and well-made artisan foods from anywhere in the world are a temptation I often can’t resist.

But, femivore or not, I’m all for growing your own. More on how to actually go about starting your own little flock later. For now, there are eggs I must gather.