Press Room

The township’s first community garden is taking shape.
April 5, 2013 - Volunteers working at Van Riper House making Wayne's first community garden . Victor Alfieri, founder Wayne Community Gardens Jill Tomko volunteer.
DON SMITH/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
April 5, 2013 - Volunteers working at Van Riper House making Wayne's first community garden.

Victor Alfieri, founder Wayne Community
Gardens Jill Tomko volunteer.

On Friday, a small group of volunteers started
to build the first plots at the Van Riper-Hopper Historic House Museum grounds on Berdan Avenue in what will be a 40-plot garden. About
30 volunteers are expected to continue working
Saturday, and possibly into Monday.

The community garden is a project of the township’s “Green Team,” a small committee of residents working toward the goals of the state’s Sustainable Jersey program, which awards points to communities for completing green or sustainable projects. Grants become available to communities that obtain a Sustainable Jersey certification.

“It’s about health and sustainability,” said Victor Alfieri, a member of the Green Team who has lobbied the township officials to adopt more sustainable policies. “It’s about helping people get quality food on their tables.”    Click To Read More


Sustainability Advocate Wants to Help Bats Survive

Wayne Patch By Daniel Hubbard, February 6, 2013

Victor Alfieri is working to ensure the survival of local bats because of the important role he says they play in the local ecosystem. Alfieri is a local sustainability advocate. He successfully fought and won a court case to keep hens on his property. He maintains a website and gives talks regularly on sustainability topics and gardening. Alfieri said local bats are important step in eliminating the need to spray pesticides.




Sustainable Lifestyle is Easy, Self-Taught Expert Says

Alfieri has several small gardens throughout

his property, each one dedicated to a
different fruit of a few varieties of vegetables.

He also grows his own herbs and creates his
own compost. He insists that all of this does
not require a great deal of time to maintain.

“I spend about seven hours a week out here,” Alfieri said. “People think you have to spend hours outside and you don’t if you do everything in small spaces.”
STAFF WRITER - The Record

WAYNE – A township man was found not guilty of charges Thursday that he violated a local ordinance by raising egg-laying chicken hens in his back yard, court officials said.

Victor Alfieri in his back yard where he raises three chickens. He has lobbied Wayne to pass an ordinance that would permit him to raise egg laying hens in the backyard of his home. Here is Victor outside the coup with his three hens.
FILE / CHRIS PEDOTA / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Victor Alfieri in his back yard where he raises three
chickens. He has lobbied Wayne to pass an ordinance
that would permit him to raise egg laying hens in the
backyard of his home. Here is Victor outside the coup
with his three hens.

Victor Alfieri was issued a summons in March because
he was raising three chickens on his quarter-acre
property on Woodlot Road. A township ordinance
prohibits homeowners from keeping chickens for agricultural purposes on less than two acres of land.

Judge Lawrence Katz found Alfieri not guilty.

Alfieri said he argued in court that the township code is aimed at restricting the size of commercial chicken farms, but is not intended to ban non-commercial hen raising by residents.

The judge was unavailable for an interview Thursday. A court administrator would only confirm that Alfieri was found not guilty, but would not discuss the judge’s reasoning. No written decision was available.

“The town was misinterpreting the law and enforcing a law that did not exist,” Alfieri said. “I proved that in court.”     Click To Read More



Judge Rules Wayne Man Can Keep His Chickens

Victor Alfieri is not violating town law by keeping three hens on his property for personal use.

By
Daniel Hubbard - June 28, 2012

A municipal court judge ruled Thursday that Victor Alfieri is not guilty of violating a town law by keeping three hens on his property. Judge Lawrence Katz's ruling represents a months-long battle between Alfieri and town officials over the rights of residents to keep hens on private property.

“This whole thing has been very stressful for my wife and I,” said Alfieri, an advocate of sustainability. “I’m glad it’s over. It’s a great victory for health and sustainability.”

Alfieri has kept three hens on his property for about three years. The hens live in a fenced-in chicken run and coop in his backyard. 

“Raising backyard hens has improved my life and it’s just wonderful now that all Wayne residents can start to enjoy the same benefits,” Alfieri said.

Alfieri first appeared before Katz May 17 after town planner John Szabo issued Alfieri a summons earlier this year for keeping the hens on his property. The hens each lay 300 eggs a year. Alfieri does not sell the eggs nor does he use the hens for breeding.

Alfieri argued that because the hens are not being used to make a profit, the ordinance governing the keeping of hens on private property does not apply to him. He contended that the law applies to commercial agricultural uses.

Katz agreed.

Alfieri has previously said that hens are a vital part of the sustainable living movement. He pushed officials to approve an ordinance earlier this year that would've changed the minimum lot size required for residents to own hens from 2 acres to a quarter of an acre. The council did not vote on the ordinance. Alfieri owns about a quarter of an acre of land. He’s been trying to get the law changed for years. 

Alfieri said town officials called him a “lawbreaker” for owning the hens.

“Wayne town officials were interpreting the chicken law incorrectly, enforcing a law that does not exist and I proved it in court,” Alfieri said. “Raising chickens in Wayne is not illegal and never was.”

Alfieri owns the hens and has several small gardens on his property. He harvests thousands of pounds of produce from them every year. He also runs a Web site where he tries to educate and encourage others to live more sustainable lives. 

“I will continue to fight and help other chicken owners in other towns in their pursuit in changing their laws,” Alfieri said.


Auto spa owner launches Victory Garden & Learning Center

Thursday, June 21, 2012 The Victory Garden and Learning Center held a grand opening last Saturday at Wayne Auto Spa.
BY JASON MOUSSAB CORRESPONDENT
Wayne Today WAYNE

Victory gardens flourished at homes and parks
in America during World War I and II. Also known
as War Gardens and Gardens for Defense, they relieved pressure on the public food supply
during war times and served as civil morale boosters.

The Victory Garden and Learning Center held a grand opening last Saturday at Wayne Auto Spa.
Victor Alfieri and Rob Burke have brought this
past tradition back to Wayne with the launch of Victory Garden & Learning Center, located at 2122 Hamburg Turnpike.

Burke stated that all of the foods would be donated to food pantries and flood victim families. Wayne Mayor Chris Vergano was there along with Rev. Dr. Karyn Ratcliffe for the ribbon cutting ceremony this past Saturday. In addition, Burke gave Ratcliffe the first donation, of $210, to help those in need locally and will continue to do so throughout the year.        

The Record Click To Read More

Auto Spa Owner Buys 16 Chickens, Creates Garden


Click Link To See Victory Garden

Victor Alfieri on the Urban Homesteading Movement

Episode - 883- Click Play To Here Interview



Victor Alfieri lives just 17 miles from New York City on a 1/4 acre lot but he hasn’t let
that stop him from being a modern homesteader.  For Victor It all started after hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast when he started to see things a little differently.   While he wasn’t directly effected by the hurricane it got him thinking about being more prepared.  He began researching the aftermath and to him there was one thing that stood out.

No one was prepared not the general public, not the local government and certainly not the federal government.

Then a year or so later, he and his wife who both had financial business backgrounds began observing signs of bad times ahead. This put them on a course for research which began with the internet and frequent trips to the library.

Victor found an old book about the depression in 1930′s and started to remember the stories my grandmother would tell me about how they survived the depression.  Eventually he discovered square foot gardening and small livestock, specifically keeping laying hens.  His hens eventually put him on a course of conflict with his local government where he continues to fight for the right of people to simply provide themselves with top quality home grown food.

Click To Read More





Fate Of Controversial Chickens Rests With Judge

Alfieri Fighting for Residents to Raise Chickens

WaynePatch By Daniel Hubbard - February 5, 2012

A Wayne resident is fighting to make raising chickens more common in town.

Victor Alfieri has been trying to change a law in town
for two years that prohibits most residents from raising chickens, specifically hens, on their property.

Town law states that up to 25 chickens can be kept
on lots 2 acres or larger in area. The animals’ dwelling must be kept at least 20 feet away from the owner’s home on the property, less than 50 feet from the
side and rear boundaries of the property, and 200 feet from the front property line.

“The myths have to be debunked,” Alfieri said. “People associate chickens with farms and having a lot of them in a small area and that’s not what I want. Most of the people who complain about chickens have never owned them. The only thing they know about chickens is what they see on television.”

Click To Read More




Chickens and the law:
Wayne Food advocate fights for right to keep hens

Sunday, February 12, 2012   
Last updated: Monday February 13, 2012, 12:26 PM

Victor Alfieri sees himself as a neighborhood leader in a global campaign to raise food locally. The fruits and vegetables he grows on his quarter-acre in Wayne lasts his
family year-round. But his desire to keep egg-laying hens in his back yard has met
with a strict local prohibition.


Victor Alfieri with two of the hens he keeps on
his quarter-acre property in violation
of a Wayne ordinance.

Alfieri would need seven times more land — a small farm, he says — just to have a couple dozen chickens under Wayne's poultry laws. He has three hens living illegally at his place now and wants permission to keep many more. He vows to campaign to repeal the ordinance.

There's recent precedent for overturning anti-chicken ordinances in New Jersey, and there's gathering support for Alfieri and his birds around town and beyond.

Are chickens welcome in your town?

Click To Read More

Relaxed property standard for owning chickens headed for Wayne Council vote

WAYNE — The North Jersey Locavores, a group that advocates using food harvested and raised nearby, has been ramping up its support of measures that would ease restrictions on keeping chickens in residential areas.

On March 31, just days before the Wayne Township Council is scheduled to hold a hearing on a zoning ordinance that would allow more households to raise chickens, the locavores' group will be hosting a discussion on it at the township library featuring Matt Soldano, a poultry farmer from Mahwah.

Erica Evans, a township resident who is the founder and president of the regional locavores' group, said scheduling of the Farmers Talk Series so close to the council meeting, though coincidental, is beneficial for her cause.

"I try to focus the talks on the farmer's journey," Evans said, though she added that she expected Soldano would also discuss the benefits of fresh eggs.

Wayne currently allows a homeowner with at least 2 acres of land to own up to 25 hens. If approved, the new ordinance would allow homeowners with at least 10,000 square feet of land — about 0.23 acre — but less than 2 acres to own up to 4 hens. Roosters would still be banned.

"I understand that it is 2 acres, but most people in Wayne own less than two acres of land," Evans said. "I think you can raise chickens on less, and it's just a really good way to get people back in touch with where your food comes from."

Click To Read More

The Record

WAYNE – A local man who’s lobbied to roll back the township’s restrictions on raising backyard chickens may be on the brink of success.

Victor Alfieri in his back yard where he raises three chickens. He has lobbied Wayne to pass an ordinance that would permit him to raise egg laying hens in the backyard of his home. Here is Victor outside the coup with his three hens.
CHRIS PEDOTA/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Victor Alfieri in his back yard where he raises
three chickens. He has lobbied Wayne to pass
an ordinance that would permit him to raise egg
laying hens in the backyard of his home.

Here is Victor outside the coup with his three hens.

If the Township Council amends the local ordinance, Victor Alfieri will have made honest hens of the three egg-laying chickens he keeps illegally on his Woodlot Road property. But lines of opposition already appear
to be forming.

The council last week voted 6-0 with one abstention to introduce regulations that would permit people with lots of at least 10,000 square feet to raise as many as four hens. Current zoning law only permits raising chicken hens on lots of at least two acres.

Click To Read More




(02/14/12)

WAYNE
- A Passaic County man is crying foul. He wants to raise chickens on his property so he can eat organic eggs.

Despite Victor Alfieri's intentions to eat food that he produces himself, he was denied a permit to raise the chickens in his suburban backyard due to concerns about the noise, smell, and pests. Alfieri says township officials are misinformed.

Alfieri owns a quarter of an acre. The rules in Wayne are that if you want to own two chickens you have to have at least two acres of land. With the growing sustainability movement, Alfieri says that needs to change.

Officials have put Mr. Alfieri on notice that his hens violate the law. If he doesn't comply, he could be taken to court. But he vows to work with city leaders on easing the antiquated rules, so he and others can know exactly what's in their food.

Click To Watch Video




Local Food Trend Runs Afoul of Barnyard Animal Laws
By Brian Thompson Friday, Apr 6, 2012  |  Updated 6:35 AM EDT
The emphasis on local, organic food is running afoul of local zoning restrictions across the tri-state area, as some communities seek to restrict amateur farmers from keeping chickens and other barnyard animals. In Wayne, N.J., Victor Alfieri keeps three chickens, which provide about three eggs a day.

Alfieri got a summons from the town, and the township council this week declined to change the zoning law that requires a minimum of two acres to raise chickens.

Alfieri lives on about a quarter-acre of land, and neighbors have complained of the clucking sound and occasional smell of chicken manure.

"My neighbor now can own five dogs, and 10 feet away I can't own three chicken hens," Alfieri said.

Alfieri said he keeps the chickens for their eggs, which he says are tastier and healthier than those that come from factory farms. Alfieri likes his poached.

He also grows vegetables, fruit and herbs in his front and back yards -- from garlic to watermelon and snap peas.

Click To Read More





Wayne Man Fights To Keep His Three Chickens

WAYNE, NJ (CBSNewYork) - A New Jersey resident is fighting to keep his three chickens, even though he doesn’t have enough land to legally keep them.

Click To Here Audio: WCBS 880′s Sean Adams On The Story

“I can raise up to 2,000 pigeons on the property I’m on right now,” said Victor Alfieri of Wayne.

But he doesn’t want pigeons. He wants to keep his three hens. “They offer me fresh, healthy, organic eggs. Their manure is absolutely fantastic for my organic vegetable garden,” he told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams.

But in Wayne, the local law says his quarter acre is just too small for three chickens, and his neighbor, Pandy Napolitano agrees. “We feel it’s bringing down our property value, along with the chickens, he says they don’t make noise. We can hear them making the noise,” she said.

When Adams visited, the hens barely went above a whisper and there was no mess and no odor.
The mayor is on Alfieri’s side, but the entire council hasn’t been swayed. “I want the same right that someone has that owns a dog,” said Alfieri.

So, he’ll keep lobbying to amend the local poultry law, and he says momentum is on his side as more towns become chicken-friendly.


Theunis Dey School Square Foot Gardens
By: Michele Alfieri, Editor

On Monday May 23, 2011, local resident and Garden Builder, Victor Alfieri donated his time to promote sustainable living to the Theunis Dey School on Webster Avenue by building three Square Foot Gardens.  Each class (K-5th Grade) got a brief lesson about what Square Foot Gardening means and how it was developed.  

The children were then able to get their hands dirty and plant their own vegetables. Some of the vegetables planted were cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, green beans, onions, carrots, spinach, celery and basil.

Each garden has 60 square feet of garden space. With the 3 gardens there is a total of 180 square feet. 
Along with Victor the students and their families will be taking care of the gardens over the summer. 

"It all starts with the kids, it's very important for our future generation to understand where their food comes from and how to produce it. This is the first community garden in Wayne NJ and this is just the beginning, I plan on building many more". Victor said.

Victor builds gardens for local residents at affordable prices and donates his time to promote local sustainable living.