I first met Pat Foreman about 20 years ago, when she and her partner, Andy Lee, were living in Vermont. Will Raap, our company’s founder, had recruited Pat and Andy to start up Vermont’s first membership farm. Once the Intervale Community Farm was up and going, Pat and Andy returned to their own farm in Virginia, but the foundation they laid here in Vermont was a good one. Today the Intervale Community Farm is one of New England’s largest with more than 500 member households.
Pat and Andy are teachers and authors as well as farmers. In the early 1990s, they published a terrific book called Backyard Market Gardening. Having always included laying hens as part of their market gardens, they next wrote the definitive book on mobile chicken coops, called Chicken Tractor.
Pat visited Burlington last spring to show us galleys of her newest book, City Chicks. Having just started my own flock of laying hens, this book came at the perfect time. There’s no doubt that our little flock of nine hens wouldn’t be nearly as healthy and happy today if we didn’t have Pat’s sage advice at our fingertips.
When I spoke with Pat recently, she said the book’s been a huge success. The New York Times even ran an article about it. She’s been receiving book orders and fielding chicken-related questions from all over the world, and is particularly pleased that the book is finding an eager audience in Africa, where she was a Peace Corps volunteer years ago.
Pat’s also been asked by Andy Schneider to co-host his radio talk show called the Chicken Whisperer. It’s a daily talk show, broadcast at noon Monday to Saturday, but can be replayed anytime on demand via Blog Talk Radio. If you’re into all things chicken, you might want to give it a listen.
I had no idea it would be so much fun having chickens. Whether laying hens are already a part of your life or you’re still considering the idea, I recommend keeping a copy of City Chicks close at hand. For quickest delivery — and to learn a bit more about the books — you can order right from Pat’s website.