Welcome to Avid Homestead
We've started this web site to help organize citizens and communities interested in urban/suburban farming but local laws and ordinances prevent or inhibit the full utilization of your property including the ability to raise, in reasonable quantities per parcel size for personal consumption or production of consumables, small animals and fowl.
Our story (and the reason we started this site) begins in unincorporated Brevard County Florida who has cited us for having eight sheep on our two acres of land which is zoned RR1 (Rural Residential 1) and allows horses. In addition to this odd situation of allowing horses but not sheep we are only permitted to keep one fowl or poultry which precludes the ability to gather eggs for our family from chickens or quail.
Brevard County Code Enforcement investigated us after an anonymous caller informed them we had several goats, sheep and almost 30 rabbits. We have eight sheep, no goats and, at the time of the complaint and investigation, a half dozen rabbits. The Brevard County Code Enforcement Officer was satisfied the animals were well cared for and since horses were permitted there was no issue with the sheep. However that conclusion was reversed after, to my understanding, the anonymous caller called again and complained to the Brevard County Zoning Department and we were informed the Notice of Violation was forthcoming.
We raise this small quantity of sheep to help keep the back lawn mowed, teach our two children responsibility and a respect for all life yet understand they also serve other purposes such a wool and, occasionally, a source of meat. We chose our sheep over horses and goats simply because they are better suited to our goals with minimal maintenance and are quite docile so we don't have much of a problem with them getting out.
In addition to the sheep we also raise rabbits for many of the same reasons and enjoy them as pets. Our girls just love them beyond words to describe it and our dog, Dixie, has also taken to the rabbits and will clean them when she gets a chance. Although we don't primarily raise our rabbits as a food source it turns out I do not have the right to process them according to County Code without a Conditional Use Permit. Interestingly, I have been told I may process the fish I catch and wild game I harvest as long as I dispose of the remains properly.
We also planned on raising some chickens for eggs and meat and possibly the same with quail however that is on hold for the time being.
It is our intent to keep our sheep and seek a change to the County Code to permit homesteading in the traditional sense. In short, we want the right to nothing less than what has happened in this country for over 200 years. We don't know when or how these defacto rights were lost in our community or others but with the growing interest and need for individuals to raise their own food due to necessity and/or to have some control over their food supply we are going to document our experience and build a model for other people in a similar situation to use for a change in Code that better reflects the wants and needs of those who wish to produce some of their own food.
We are documenting our effort in the Brevard County Community page. Please visit often to see how things are progressing and any support you can offer is appreciated.