Remarkable Security for Chicken Feed

Image of light pollution at rural feed store.

This is the new feed store in my neighborhood. It’s a big metal box with a lot of lights.

I’m not an architecture critic, for that I direct you to sites such as Dezeen and BldgBlog. I’m a critic of the choices we make as we live along our coasts and on our islands, the choices we make for using the land and the things we build around or near the water.

Where am I?

The road that runs past the feed store is designated a Scenic Byway – it’s one of those fabled back roads of America, a blue highway. It runs past farms, Victorian towns and territorial vistas. Drivers used to get a glimpse of the sea from here.

But the poor siting, lackluster planning, and architectural pablum of this building are not the burrs under my saddle right now, it’s all those lights.

The waste of energy is bad enough. As are the light pollution for the surrounding area and the close encounters glow as you drive along the road.

What really mystifies me though is why a store that stocks chicken feed, water troughs, fence posts, mud boots, bales of hay, and in spring, a few turkey poults, needs such a security array. It’s ludicrous.

This is not downtown L. A. but an island town that can’t scrape together 300 people to vote for incorporation. Yet this company feels the need to protect its premises with 15 lights along the highway side of the building – where nothing is stored, and twice that many on the other side where the stock is.


For a dose of reality, here’s the local bank at the same time of day:

A bank at night

And the lumber yard on the other side of town (seven blocks away):

A lumber yard at night.

Perhaps the lower level of lighting at those establishments stems from the fact that they don’t stock the hot ticket items in demand in a rural community. Even that’s a stretch though, as the crime rate here is pretty basic.

The only other building in town that comes close to this percentage of lighting is the pet shop.

too many lights at the pet store

What is it about animal food that requires so many lights?

The other argument you hear is that a business needs to be lit up at night so that people can find it. But that can’t be the case for the feed store, if it were the sign would be lighted.

After gnawing at this over the last few weeks I can only assume that someone accidentally hired an architect whose last project was a maximum security prison.

Here’s another take, not on this particular building, but on overbuilding in general, from the Avett Brothers.

There used to be a view of the sea from here

Yessireee, this store sure is convenient and it sure is well lit. But there used to be a view of the sea from here. And one day we’ll laugh as we say, “Can you believe that once upon a time this highway was designated a Scenic Byway?”

7 thoughts on “Remarkable Security for Chicken Feed”

  1. Hey Nancy,

    I just wanted to stop by and say Hi… but I am sad that they’re spoiling your sea view with a big ugly store.

    we live in the beautiful English countryside and had a similar issue with a big ugly building (which thankfully didn’t go ahead).

    Is there any kind of petition going on against this store? At least to address the unnecessary lighting of the store at night?

    I really hope that something can be done about it but unfortunately see too much of this kind of thing… :-(

    take care & best wishes,

    1. Thanks for commiserating Alan, though the view I’m whining about is not my own. It’s the one from the highway, where travelers used to be able to spy the water.

      No petition, just wanted to plant my quiet seed and see if I can get people to think a bit before lighting a rural store like it’s an airport runway.

      Glad to hear that your community was able to avoid a blighty building. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

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  3. Yes, it is perplexing. I’m a long-time customer but was shocked at the scale of this facility. Freeland seems to be doing everything on a mega scale these days without a thought to the setting. I’m trying to understand. To me, the whole point of living here is to get away from the value system that makes other places soulless.

    1. Hi Dan,
      Thanks for commenting. It’s nice to know that the building seems like overkill to another local.

      Freeland itself is not doing anything on a mega scale. Freeland is an unincorporated area where residents have little say over what gets built. Consequently it’s become the site of choice for those who want to build to suit the bottom line, with little thought to the effect on the community. There are some design guidelines in the works, when they go into effect I’m not sure as the last update on the county website was in March.

  4. Nancy, interesting post. I’ve always been fascinated in the lesser celebrated. Small town structures, those essential to everyday life, they just have some kind of special pull.

    Maybe I’m just all screwed up from too much Kerouac but there’s something romantic about your photos.

    Are you advocating vegetarianism in regards to the battery farm?

    1. Hi Will,

      Thanks for your comment. I love that my photos are romantic. Perhaps that’s what underlies my little rant, starry-eyed wishes for things to stay the same.

      I feel like I should go back and annotate that post, there’s so much alluded to when all I really wanted was for someone to unscrew a few light bulbs. I too value small towns, and tradition. I’ve always liked the quirky, thrown together look of this little town. But growth is changing the landscape.

      In an ironic twist to our current economic woes – more people are choosing to raise their own chickens and other livestock again, something that waned around here during the real estate boom years when McMansions were replacing farms. This means that the feed store, which for many years inhabited a funky, remodeled building in the center of town, can now expand into a massive steel building on the outskirts in order to meet the growth of its industry. A new building boom from a direction I didn’t expect.

      As for vegetarianism, yes I do advocate it, though I don’t currently practice it. But vegetarian or meat eater, the battery farm is a bad model that I’d like to see go away. In a perfect world perhaps everyone would keep their own chickens. But then we’d need an even bigger feed store, with even more lights.

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