Farming in Cohoes
Message from Mayor Keeler
As part of our “Cleaner Greener Cohoes” initiative, we are working to promote the use of green space all across the city in new and creative ways, including promoting farming in the city.
In April, 2020 we set new guidelines for keeping bees, raising chickens and developing community gardens in a neighborly way. The process is simple and inviting. These new guidelines in our Zoning & Land Use Code are set out in Local Law No. 3.
Interested in keeping bees, raising chickens, or growing a pollinator garden in your yard? Information on this page provides a basic “How to…” guide.
Interested in community gardening? Across the city there are untapped green spaces, including properties held by the Land Bank, that are too small for development, but perhaps ideal for a vegetable and pollinator community garden. We want to work with neighbors to help bring these areas back to life, and do it in a safe and legal way.
These initiatives can help teach farming and responsibility to children, strengthen the environment and our sense of community, and be a source of food and fun for all.
Let’s grow together!
Raising Chickens At Home
Raising chickens is a good source of food, fun, and learning for the family, but it must be done safely and in a neighborly way. Cohoes property owners with at least 5,000 square feet of property may apply for a license to raise chickens in the backyard, for personal use, if you plan to:
✔ Have a covered, ventilated, predator-proof chicken house with at least 10 sq ft per chicken
✔ Locate the chicken-coop at least 10 feet from the property lines
✔ Secure chickens in the enclosure from sunset to sunrise
✔ Provide chickens continuous access to food and water
✔ Store food in a rodent and predator-proof container
✔ Maintain a healthy, clean environment for the chickens
↬ and remember, no roosters!
The license to raise chickens must be renewed every year. Tenants must apply for an annual license jointly with your landlord. Get started by filing out the license request form here and submitting it to the Cohoes Planning Department: Keeping of Chickens License Application
For general information on raising chickens, check out these resources on-line:
- Cornell Cooperative Extension: Backyard Chickens;
- Cornell Cooperative Extension- Albany County: Giving Chicks a Good Start; and
- Backyard Farming: Raising Chickens: From Building Coops to Collecting Eggs
Growing A Community Garden
Creating community gardens creates a source for fresh food, and often much more. These gathering and growing sites can help transform a neighborhood. Doing it right requires planning and collaboration. The first step to starting, running, and maintaining an organic community garden is to apply for a license from the Cohoes Planning Department.
Applicants will need details on proposed:
✔ Location, with approval from property owner(s) and neighbors,
✔ Design for garden layout, structures, and source of water,
✔ Operating rules, governance structure, and a garden coordinator
And must follow some basic rules including:
- Adhering to boundary, fencing, and signage regulations;
- Following gardening (organic only), composting, and watering procedures; and
- Maintaining soil and other safety requirements.
Get started by contacting the Planning Department to discuss site selection, and begin organizing the community by starting the application process: Community Gardening Application
For information on community gardens, and gardening in general check out these resources: How to Start a Community Garden
Cornell Cooperative Extension – Albany County: Tips and Resources on Food Gardening
Keeping Bees In Your Backyard
Bees are essential to put food on our tables, important for the environment, and honey is sweet! You can become a backyard beekeeper if you:
✔ Own at least 4,000 square feet of property
✔ Keep the beehive facing away from and at least 20 feet from your property lines
✔ Keep colonies in hives with removable frames, in good condition, with access to water
Get started by filling out this form, and submitting it to the Cohoes Planning Department: Beekeeping Form
For general beekeeping resources from the Pollinator Network @Cornell click here
Gardening for Pollinators
Pollinators - butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and more - are essential to having a sustainable food supply and a healthy ecosystem. Adding the right perennial flowers, bushes, and other plants in your outdoor space can create an inviting environment for these essential winged creatures.
Get started in your yard, on your porch, or in the patch of grass along your sidewalk with these tips:
From Cornell Cooperative Extension: Creating a Pollinator Paradise;
From NYS-DEC: The Pollinator Pathway Project; and
From Michigan State University: How to protect and increase pollinators in your landscape.