Milestones for the Austin Funky Chicken Coop Tour
- The Funky Chicken Coop Tour® is staffed entirely by volunteers, who organize a self-guided chicken coop tour every Spring in the city of Austin, Texas. The purpose of this tour is to encourage city residents to raise chickens at home by demonstrating the many ways that chicken (and other poultry) housing can be incorporated into a city residence without violating city ordinances or creating a nuisance.
- The Funky Chicken Coop Tour® began in 2009 and it hosted 1,000 visitors and featured 18 coops. In that first year, the focus was on displaying coops and developing an online presence using a Blogspot page for the official website. Twitter was used for marketing and tour photos were posted through Picasa. Maps were available for download on the website as a Google map link.
- In 2010, The Funky Chicken Coop Tour® grew to 1,500 visitors and included 17 coops. The second year, t-shirts were added, an information center, and a coop raffle. Online outreach was expanded to include social media outlet Facebook, as well as pre-tour video previews on a new Tour YouTube Channel. A downloadable PDF map was also made available online on the Blogspot page. Also in that second year, a partnership was established for the first time with The Sustainable Food Center (SFC), a 501(c)(3) non-profit that focuses on cultivating “a healthy community by strengthening the local food system and improving access to nutritious, affordable food.”
- The third year of the Tour continued to grow with more visitors and a larger local business presence. In 2011, commemorative posters were introduced as well as more formal sponsorship options. The partnership with the SFC continued along with other added fundraising efforts with all proceeds, after expenses, going to the SFC. That year the Tour raised $1,500.00 for the SFC.
- In the fall of 2011, the Urban Poultry Association of Texas, Inc. (UPAT) was formed to provide support, training and guidance in an effort to promote urban poultry and help those who strive to work with poultry in an urban setting. All future Funky Chicken Coop Tours will operate under this umbrella. UPAT is a recognized 501 (c)(3) nonprofit.
- 2012 heralded a fourth successful tour and expanded its outreach. The Tour established its ongoing logo and offered additional merchandise, including caps and magnets. It expanded social media to include Pinterest. Further, the Tour provided a portion of surplus proceeds to Green Corn Project (GCP), a local 501 (c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to helping Central Texans in need grow their own organic vegetables. The proceeds provided cover approximately 20% of the GCP annual operating budget.
- 2013 marked the fifth year milestone. The Tour partnered with Bike Austin and provided a guided cycling tour for all cycling experience levels and ages. The sponsor levels included local food artisans in support of local business. As a first, the Tour provided proceeds to two local organizations, Urban Patchwork Neighborhood Farms and Partners in Education, Agriculture, and Sustainability (PEAS), raising a combined total of $2,500 in proceeds for these organizations.
- 2014 had significant changes, including a new partnership with Sunshine Community Gardens as host to the 2014 Tour Headquarters. Tour HQ had a full day of free activities, including live poultry, children’s chicken story time courtesy of the Austin Public Libraries, and a new speaker series. The Tour’s online technology expanded to include Flickr and Instagram. Other new community organization partnerships included a 2nd Bicycle Tour de Funky Chickens as a hosted ride of Austin Cycling Association (now under Bike Austin), an egg drive partnership with Keep Austin Fed, and an alliance with Austin Permaculture Guild to do a Permablitz for the 2014 Tour beneficiary of New Farm Institute (NFI). NFI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit which is “working to inspire a new generation of sustainable farmers in the urban fringe.”
- 2015 brought the 7th Annual Tour, an expanded focus on local food and zero waste, a chicken puppet show in conjunction with Austin Public Library, and more. Sunshine Community Gardens served as a popular Tour Headquarters for a second year.