Chickens at the Opera House!

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When:  Sunday, October 19th 2014, 3:00pm, doors open at 2:15pm

Where:  City Opera House, Traverse City, MI

Who:  This will be a ticketed event, and is open to the public. Tickets will be available through the City Opera House’s website, or through an MGANM member.

Ticket prices: $15 General Public; $12 MGANM/BGS members and seniors; $5 for Youth;*****Free for children ages 6-17 that submit a chicken joke, and a discounted ticket of $10 for each of their parents.

What:  The Master Gardener Association of Northwest Michigan is hosting a fun and educational event celebrating the latest trend in backyard gardening…chickens! Adults, children and families are invited to celebrate the backyard chicken on Sunday, October 19 at 3 pm at the Traverse City Opera House. Doors open at 2:15. Program will run from 3-5 pm.  The afternoon will include:

  • A featured speaker, Jessi Bloom, author of “Free-Range Chicken Gardens” published by Timber Press. She will present *What the Cluck?!” which will address the basics of how to integrate chickens into your garden, starting with chicken raising myth busters, on to designing beneficial habitat for them and you. She will also share her favorite top 10 chicken garden plants! Bloom is an award-winning landscape designer whose work emphasizes ecological systems, sustainability, and self-sufficiency. She is a certified professional horticulturalist and certified arborist, as well as a long-time chicken owner with a free-ranging flock in her home garden.
  • Jen Strauss of Story Be Told Productions will tell chicken stories such as “An Appalachian Tale of Two Chickens” and “The Chicken Who Thought She Was an Eagle”.
  • The finalists of a “chicken joke” contest with entries from local school children will be featured. The top 10 joke entries will be invited to the event to tell their joke. Children (with parental permission) can submit their jokes here.
  • Leelanau County’s 4-H’s “Synchronized Chickens” will perform.
  • Merchandise table with specially made “chicken aprons” and books for children/gardening.
  • Chinese Raffle including items such as: One season chicken rental from Rent-A-Chicken, an Oryana gift basket, an American-made chick incubator from McGough’s, and much, much more!

Chickens have burst upon our landscape as an easy and inconspicuous barnyard animal readily adapted to urban and suburban life. Chickens are omnivores who love pecking through the yard for leftover food scraps, bugs and feed. In return they give the feeder wonderful fresh eggs full of nutritious protein and fats. Free range eggs are the rage and owning the chickens that produce them is a popular activity for adults and children alike.

The Master Gardener Association of Northwest Michigan celebrates home gardens, landscaping, soil quality, pollinator gardens, tree fruit and small fruit, food preservation, lawn care, water quality and now, CHICKENS! Our goal is to share quality, researched-based practices and knowledge with the community. Having fun is always an added benefit. Please join us.


About Jessi Bloom and her book

Click on the image to go to Jessis' website

Click on the image to go to Jessi’s website

Chicken book by Jessi

Click on the image to see her book on 


Award winning landscape designer Jessica Bloom, is a Certified Professional Horticulturalist and ISA Certified Arborist who strongly emphasizes ecological systems, sustainability and self-sufficiency in her work. She is passionate about animals, permaculture and making functional gardens beautiful! She is also the author of best-selling Free Range Chicken Gardens (Timber Press, 2012) and co-author of The Wetland Handbook: A Community Guide to Growing Native Plants (King Conservation District, 1998). As the lead designer and owner of Pacific Northwest based landscape design build firm N.W. Bloom – EcoLogical Landscapes and Nursery, Jessica has built many popular display gardens at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show winning Gold medals, the People’s Choice award as well as the magazine awards. Other significant awards include the 2008 Governor’s Award from the WA State Department of Ecology for sustainable practices and the Environmental Excellence Award from WA St Nursery & Landscape Association and most recently a Grand Award from WALP for community service!

About Jen Strauss, Narrative Consultant

Jen Strauss

Click on the image to go to Jen’s website

“Let a Story be Told… Let a Story be Heard…Let a Story be Told Again”

Jenifer Strauss uses story to help educators, organizations and individuals connect, communicate, and achieve their goals. Following ten years as a middle school educator, Jenifer combined her love of teaching and storytelling and in 1993, founded her consulting business, Story Be Told.

During her years in the classroom, Jenifer used storytelling with her students to capture interest, motivate learning, and inspire writing. Jen learned that people think, learn and imagine in story or narrative and helped her students make powerful connections between imagining, speaking, and writing. Now traveling nationally, Jenifer offers dynamic story performances, writing workshops, training and keynotes along with long-term involvements as an Artist-in-Residence.

Jenifer is the creator of the Turning Points Personal Narrative Process, which she presents to schools, organizations, businesses and individuals. Her curriculum-based program, “Tell It, Read It, Write It” has been performed and positively received by schools across the United States. She offers a powerful high school program focused on prevention, and positive self-esteem called “Keeping an Eye Out for Coyote”.

Jenifer’s credentials include a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan, an elementary education degree from Western Michigan University, and a secondary education degree in Biology from Michigan State University. Jenifer is cofounder of the Center for Imagination, and partner in a collaborative business called Cygnus Storytelling, LLC, whose publications and recordings include Telling Stories: The Cygnus Storytelling Handbook, and a CD called U Tell A Tale: Stories Told Through-U. Her newest recording; Michigan Legends and Lore: Stories from Shore to Shore, was released in the fall of 2009 and focuses on Michigan History.



For more information on our sponsors, you can click on each image to go directly to their website. If you would like to become a sponsor or volunteer, please email us.


Anonymous Community Member: Airfare for Jessi Bloom


The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park


Roy & Doris Fisher, friends of MGANM

Noland Building and Development of Traverse City


Michigan Land Use Institute’s Taste the Local Difference Program

Cherry Capital Rose Society

four season logo pink

Peak Season CSA



Oryana Natural Foods Market of Traverse City

Laser Printer Technologies of Traverse City

State Theatre

Benzie County Conservation District

McGough’s of Traverse City

Michigan Garden Hotline

9am to Noon, M-F Year round
Also 1pm-4pm in Spring/Summer


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