Urban farms trend in Twin Cities going strong as pandemic keep people home

More and more chicken coops are popping up in backyards in the Twin Cities. (FOX 9)

Ten months into the pandemic and urban farming is showing no signs of slowing down in the Twin Cities.

According to permit offices, through the end of 2020, St. Paul nearly doubled the number of new chicken coop permits while Minneapolis added dozens as well.

Among those new farmers is Missy Dodge in Northeast Minneapolis. She says she considered adding chickens to her backyard for years but says COVID-19 offered the extra incentive she needed.

"It’s kind of been in the back of my mind," said Dodge. "Then all of a sudden I was like, [a] stimulus check keeps on giving if I get chickens, so I just made the move."

Audrey Matson, the owner of Eggplant Urban Farm Supply in St. Paul, says it's not just chickens hatching extra profits for her small business.

After 11 years in operation, she’s seeing more customers than ever, doing everything from cheese-making and bread-baking to soon more willing try maple syrup tapping.

"Keeping chickens, growing seeds, tapping the maple tree in your backyard, lots of of people want to do these things with their kids," said Matson. "So, we sell all those kind of things that you can do, that mostly you want to do at home, and people have a lot of time at home.

While urban farming is clearly not for all of us, for many, like Dodge, who are working or learning from home, a few hens have become a pandemic perk. "They are just funny mostly, the eggs are just a bonus."

At Eggplant, they're already taking orders and will start to get chicks into the store late next month. Even sooner than that, Matson says it will likely be time to start tapping trees for maple syrup, and they're stocked up for a surge in business.