Not a Ba-a-a-d Idea – Goats Munch Weeds – LA Saves Dough

Goats are the ultimate eco-friendly weed whackers.

As one commenter said, they’re “weapons of grass destruction.” (That wasn’t you, was it Dennis?)

This article in the L.A. Times today (Thanks Caleb!) reminds me of one of the key systems that small farms use and “big Ag” (industrial farming) has gotten away from. Rotating crops and animals in complementary ways. This is part of what the Slow Food conference was about. Going fast, or “progress” brought us weed whackers and lawn mowers and such. Noise-polluting, fuel-consuming, waste-producing stuff = bad.

Goats bring us back to “slow” ways. Goats don’t use fossil fuel (except in the transport of them to this lot). They don’t pollute, but do fertilize; and they bring people together, too. The article notes commuters stopping to chat and snap photos. Normally, they’d be rushing by, avoiding the noise and dust and each other. Weed-eating, fertilizer-producing, community-building = good.

Pig farmers, I’ve learned, use goats to eat the weeds around the pigs’ paddocks. Chickens follow behind and scratch around in the poo, fertilizing the soil. Pigs eat a fresh patch of clover and grass and then the whole cycle gets repeated in a fresh patch.

Makes sense for everyone: the pigs, the goats, the chickens, the farm, the water supply. Compare it to what happens at factory pig locations such as Smithfield. Horrors of waste, pollution and well documented abuse of both the pigs being raised and the workers. See the original exposé in Rolling Stone here, Boss Hog.

The more you know about it, the more “going slow” makes sense.

For more on my Slow Food Nation experience see:

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  1. Tales of the Cocktail may be over but the fun continues. Check the blogs and podcasts for all the news that fit to drink!
  2. The Maori art of facial tatooing is called moko. It is a powerful expression of tribal identity which has only recently enjoyed a resurgence as the colonial Christian prohibitions against it have lessened. Go to the Peabody Essex Museum for this rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of this amazing cultural tradition. The documentary I saw at Sundance years ago on moko, was one of the most powerful films I have ever seen.
  3. The Audubon Insectarium is a new and top-notch attraction in New Orleans. We passed by it and wondered why we'd missed it before. Turns out it's just now opening. No time this last trip, but it's on the list for the next time. Check here for info.

What's on my list?

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