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Backyard chicken pilot project closer to reality

The City of London's planning committee has approved the urban agricultural strategy, which includes a backyard hen pilot project.

City's planning committee approved urban agricultural strategy, which includes a backyard hen pilot

Chickens mingle and eat in their coop in a backyard in London. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

A backyard hen pilot project has one more hurdle — or maybe one more chicken coop — to clear before becoming reality.

The city's planning committee approved a wide-spanning Urban Agriculture Strategy, which includes a staff recommendation to allow a select number of people to raise chickens in their backyards. 

After some time, the chickens would be reviewed to see how the pilot project was going. 

Urban agriculture means growing, processing, sharing and distributing food, whether berries, beans or chickens, within the city. 

Under current laws, if someone grows a batch of strawberries, he or she can't sell those to neighbours, or even at local farmers markets. 

Some people already keep chickens in their backyards within city limits, hoping they don't get caught. 

Brooke Hutton doesn't look like much of an outlaw, but she is. She's part of a growing underground movement of backyard chicken keepers in London, Ont., where despite being perfectly legal in other cities, the birds are still banned. 1:06

The urban agricultural strategy was first presented to the planning committee in July, then went out for public comment and community response. 

It still has to be approved by full city council.