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When Boulderite Melissa Winchester found herself longing for the farms of her childhood in Virginia, she knew moving wasn’t practical. So, beginning with a sizeable vegetable patch—and, later, four young chickens and a handmade coop—she transformed her yard into an abundant urban farm. And when she couldn’t find a local store for supplies or reliable advice, she hatched the Savvy Hen, which opened just east of the Pearl Street Mall last fall. Go for chicken feed, gorgeous coops, and gardening tools, as well as classes on food cultivation and preservation—everything an urban farmer needs to stay stylishly farm-fresh.
5280 Home: Does urban farming’s newfound popularity surprise you?
Winchester: Not at all. Urban farming isn’t new; folks have been doing it for such a long time—think of anyone with a vegetable patch in their garden. What is new is this great push toward a consciousness about where our food is coming from.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about raising chickens?
People think that chickens need tons of space, are smelly, and won’t look nice. But part of what we do at the Savvy Hen is to promote the beauty of urban farming. It’s important to have fun with it; make it interesting and a part of your home instead of something that detracts from it. The coop at my house has a pink chandelier and framed pictures of our chickens as chicks.
Framed photos of your chickens?
People don’t expect the personalities that chickens have; it often becomes their favorite thing about their chickens.
What’s next for the Savvy Hen?
We want to be the place where people come to share what they’ve learned, ask questions, or simply come to chat for a while.
1908 Pearl St., Boulder, 720-502-6187, thesavvyhen.com
—Photography of Aaron Colussi