Chickens in the City by Christie Herring is no longer available through KQED. It is now part of the ITVS Online Shorts Festival. Visit pbs.org to view Chickens in the City online.
Somewhere beyond the Golden Gate Bridge, the cable cars and the coffee bars, San Francisco is teeming with chickens, but are they pets or are they food?
Chickens in the City is a chicken-level view of two backyard coops in San Francisco. Allison adopted Miss MoneyHenny from her neighbor who purchased the chicken to star in his audition tape for SURVIVOR. She's a little hen with a big personality, and her prolific egg-laying brings the family farm to the big city. Across town, Shawn tends Wacko and Kathryn -- not to mention two ducks -- in a high-tech chicken coop. This flock produces 25 eggs per week along with the perfect nutrient balance of manure for Shawn's backyard garden of rare fruits and vegetables.
The film playfully explores the ways in which keeping chickens has helped shape the philosophies behind what and how urban chicken-owners eat. Neither Allison nor Shawn are vegetarians, but they have confronted the dark side of eating meat and made peace with their poultry. Their chickens have forced them to face the means of modern food production, and they don't always like what they've found. It's not surprising. After all, when is the last time you looked YOUR dinner in the eye?