Underground Leaside chicken farm is ‘outed’

Two underground chicken farmers in Leaside have been “outed” publicly by the Toronto Star’s free Metro newspaper because they won big at this year’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair at the CNE.

Twins Andrew and Matthew Patel, 17, of Sutherland Dr., were not really being secretive about the illegal activities. They have been before city council asking that the law be changed (they failed) and they’ve been advocating for urban farming since their parents let them use their backyard two years ago.

But when they earned a dozen awards, including two first-place finishes and a best-in-class in their first try, it became too good a story not to be published.

Metro quotes Andrew Patel: “Partly because it was illegal, we wanted to do it. We knew they weren’t dangerous.”

“And even if we got caught, we figured we would be raising awareness,” Matthew was quoted.

They checked with neighbours first.

The family has been warned by bylaw enforcement officers, but there have been no charges, and the practice will end when the twins leave for university next year.

They are grade 12 students at Upper Canada College, but not interested in agriculture. The twins were inspired to raise chickens by a visit to their grandmother’s childhood farm in Slovena.

At first they thought of studying medicine because their father is a doctor and their mother an occupational therapist, but now Andrew says the battle over urban chickens has made him more interested in law.

Information from Torstar News Service