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7th Annual Self-Guided Tour de Coops in Downtown Phoenix Set for 11/14

While keeping urban chickens is gaining momentum nationwide, the feathered friends of Valley Permaculture Alliance (VPA) have led the back-to-the-garden movement for seven years with the annual Tour de Coops, this year scheduled Saturday, Nov. 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The one-day, self-guided tour will be highlighted by interactive examples of how to incorporate chickens into sustainable household garden systems in the greater downtown Phoenix area.

"Our goal is to educate the community about keeping hens, delight them with garden ideas and provide inspiration to live sustainably," said VPA Executive Director Sarah Osteen. "We also hope to energize those 'on the fence' to jump into urban chicken keeping and sustainable living practices."

All Tour proceeds benefit VPA, an environmental education nonprofit organization that works to inspire sustainable urban living in the desert southwest.

Open to all ages, tour goers checking in at Tour Headquarters from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 2225 N. 16th St. (Southwest Autism & Research Center Vocational & Lifeskills Academy Satellite Office) will receive maps and wristbands for access to all backyards featuring coops. Activities at the headquarters location will feature children's craft activities, live music, food trucks and the first coop on the Tour.

Sites on the 7th Annual Tour de Coops are quite diverse, with names like "The Chick-Inn," "Growhouse Golden Girls," "Dolce Verde," "Mahna Mahna" and will provide visitors with egg-ucational materials. Tour hosts will share their experiences with chicken care, coop design, maintaining harmony among the chickens and more.

Interesting features on the Tour this year include a community garden site, many uses of recycled materials, water harvesting, a school garden chicken coop and goats, laundry to landscape greywater systems, rain gardens, outdoor showers, infiltration basins, sunken garden beds and more.

The Tour showcases hen houses and sustainable gardening practices. Tour goers are asked to leave pets at home since some flocks are not accustomed to four-legged visitors. The Tour will also include a "Tour by bicycle" option, lead by Phoenix Spoke's People.

Tickets for the Tour de Coops on sale now and can be purchased online though http://vpaaz.org. Advance-purchase tickets through 5 p.m., Nov. 13 are $20 for adults age 13 and older. Children 12 and under are free. Day-of tour prices increase to $30 for adults (or $75 for 4).

Anyone purchasing tickets online is automatically entered to win special prizes. Check http://vpaaz.org for latest event details.



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