It is said that Frederick Law Olmsted initially envisioned using goats as a way to keep the park system efficiently maintained. Ultimately lawnmowers became the preferred mechanisms, and in this day and age it seems that the utilization of goat power is almost unimaginable. Now, thanks to Let’s Goat Buffalo, roaming goats are taking care of business in ways that Mother Nature always intended. Owner of Let’s Goat Buffalo, Jen Zeitler, recently brought her goatscaping crew to the Richardson Olmsted Campus, where they were let loose to eat all of the invasive and overgrown plants. As you can see, the herd curried favor with everyone at the site, and the herd members have now achieved a bit of a superhero status when it comes to tackling tough yard work.
Zeitler says that it only took two days to chomp through the mess. And it was accomplished by using no chemicals or power tools. How cool is that? Using goats to take care of this sort of business might be considered an old world trade, but today it seems revolutionary – that’s how far removed we are from what’s most natural.
Thankfully there is a growing revolution afoot, where homeowners are ditching the chemicals and lawnmowers, in an attempt to push for no mow, low mow, Maintained Meadow Areas (MMAs), pollinator friendly landscapes, and Grow Food Not Lawns concepts. For far too long we have been told that we need to achieve golf course looking lawns – perfect lawns for perfect people. Well, a perfectly maintained lawn is essentially dead… virtually lifeless, and about as unnatural as it gets.
Using goats to maintain yards (big and small) might seem weird to some people, but that’s just because we have been conditioned to use chemicals and lawnmowers… which is really weird if you stop to think about it. Let’s Goat Buffalo gets us back to the basics, which is more important than ever in an age of mowing (and chemical) madness. Did you know that currently, there are 18,400 people suing Monsanto over allegations that Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicides such as Roundup cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and claims that Monsanto has spent decades covering up the risks. Once again, what sounds weird, goats or chemicals?
“The Richardson Olmsted Campus is shining a spotlight on how local organizations can think differently, partner locally and support our environment! We are so grateful to partner with them to support a healthy restoration.” – Let’s Goat Buffalo
Here are some more of the benefits that come along with a local herd of goats:
- When goats eat, they sterilize all seeds during the digestive process, thus breaking the cycle of re-growth of invasive flora.
- Using goats to clear stubborn invasive brush avoids the use of pesticides and pollutants, while eliminating the need for non-sustainable fuels.
- Goats do not produce large amounts of methane like other large livestock- in fact, their unique digestive process produces near-odorless fertilizer that allows native plants and grasses to thrive.
- Goats eliminate the need for equipment and fuel, and work in areas unsafe for man-power, making goatscaping the most economical choice for most jobs.
- Equipment used for landscaping often does extreme damage to eco-systems. Goats do not disturb natural habitats for bees, turtles, and other species.
- Goats love to munch on poison ivy and other stubborn invasive irritants that humans can’t tolerate. Goatscaping helps make parks and yards safe to enjoy.
I’m not saying that everyone should turn to goatscaping… but everyone should be looking at ways to grow and tend more natural yards, instead of simply maintaining unnatural lawns. Kudos to The Richardson Olmsted Campus for setting a precedent with this fruitful undertaking, with hopes that this sort of radical practice someday becomes a more natural way of life.
Photos courtesy Let’s Goat Buffalo