Chicken Poop for the Soul

A Year in Search of Food Sovereignty

By Kristeva Dowling

Categories: Environment
Imprint: Caitlin Press
Paperback : 9781894759601, April 2011


Food sovereignty goes beyond addressing the need to secure a daily food source. Food sovereignty means having the right to determine where your food comes from and how it is produced. In 2008, alarmed by the impact agro-business was having on Canadian food quality and security, Kristeva Dowling decided to take control of her own food source. In an attempt to achieve 100 percent self-sufficiency on her small holding in BC's Bella Coola Valley, she ploughed under her land, converted her garage to an intensive care unit for chickens and learned to hunt, fish, gather and preserve her own food.
In the tradition of the "back-to-the-landers" of the '60s, Dowling sheds the habits of her urban life and, with no agricultural background, begins an emotional and political journey towards independence.
Dowling's story is a witty, humorous and often bizarre journey of trial and error. Between rendering maple syrup, mothering baby chicks, canning hundreds of pounds of preserves, tracking wild game and growing her own wheat, Dowling finds time to reflect on her new-found tangible skills, her intangible problems and the politics and legislative barriers that face BC's small farming community.
Chicken Poop for the Soul is about a common dream: to leave the city and return to a simpler life. It is a story of success, failure and determination, which is guaranteed to make you laugh, shake your head in disbelief and get damned angry.


"Chicken Poop for the Soul is, in part, a personal journal documenting Kristeva Dowling’s quest to take more control of the food she consumes by spending eighteen months growing, foraging, bartering, hunting, and fishing for enough food to be self-sufficient. It is also an important contribution to the literature on local food and farming… Dowling provides a window through which urban dwellers can view the trials and tribulations of becoming a farmer, and the lifestyle of a newly aspiring ruralista in British Columbia; but the subtitle, “In Search of Food Sovereignty,” is perhaps the more important part of Chicken Poop... Chicken Poop for the Soul is a good introduction to the subject of food sovereignty as it relates to both the producer and the consumer."

BC Studies