ISSUE 37  |  Style on a Budget

Shopper’s Diary: Cluck! Urban Farm Supply in Rhode Island

September 17, 2014 10:00 AM

BY Christine Chitnis

Providence is a city teeming with urban farmers, but for a long time there was no locally owned nursery or feed store. I had to drive at least 20 minutes just to find chicken feed (and in a state as small as Rhode Island, that is literally half a state away). Then Cluck! Urban Farm Supply opened last year. Problem solved.

Photography by Christine Chitnis for Gardenista.

Above: Not only is the store beautifully curated, it also has become an integral part of the gardening community here in the city, offering a place to buy everything from soil and seeds to gardening accessories and how-to books.  

Above: Besides stopping by for a beautifully crafted watering can, or a chicken waterer made from a Mason jar, I often visit just to chat with owner Drake Patten. She is always on hand to answer questions–when to plant spring crops, what breed of chicken will work for a small yard. No matter the subject, she’s willing to help.

Above: Cluck! faced a long, exhaustive battle to overcome outdated city zoning ordinances to open its doors in 2013. Neighbors feared the addition of chickens and bees to the neighborhood and put up quite a battle. It was amazing to watch the community come together to support Drake in her battle, with petitions and attendance at city hall zoning meetings. 

Above: Drake has filled the store’s calendar with classes on raising chickens and bees in the city, organic gardening, and cooking demonstrations.

Above: Drake has made the shop grounds into a bustling hive of activity (pun intended!) with beehives, a chicken coop, apple trees and various raised beds so that customers can see her products “in the field” and learn about various methods and growing practices.

Above: If there is something vaguely familiar about the body of the shop, just picture your local gas station or auto body repair shop.  Drake completely overhauled this abandoned, unsightly former gas station, but kept the building itself, updating its look with a fresh coat of bright paint.  On warm days, you can enter through the garage door, which rolls up and allows a feeling of permeability between the outdoor gardens and the shop.

Above: City chickens. 

Above: Cluck! is at 399 Broadway in Providence, Rhode Island. For hours and more information, see Cluck!

Urban farmers, unite. See more tips for raising city chickens at Garden Visit: A Family-Friendly Vegetable Garden and DIY: Free-Range Chicken Gardens.