Heidi Kooy already had a nice-sized, 100-square-foot vegetable garden in her San Francisco backyard when she decided to up the ante with a gaggle of hens and a couple of Nigerian dwarf dairy goats. The introduction of animals, spurred by a need to understand and control the process of food production, has entirely changed her relationship with food.
"The goats provide us with the perfect amount of milk for our family," she says. "We drink it, ferment it into yogurt, make cheese and ice cream with it, and use it for creating luscious bars of goat's milk soap. The chickens are primarily for eggs, but we also retire to the table those who have passed their egg-laying prime. I have learned the ins and outs of raising hens, from chickhood to culling, seeing each animal through, and being responsible for, its entire life cycle. I tell you, there is great satisfaction in that."