When we started planning the site for our SFC Farmers' Market East, Farmers' Market Operations Director Michael Hanan was thrilled at the possibility of holding a market in our own front yard, but dismayed to be confronted with some stubborn poison ivy on the site. Recently, he seemed ready to pull his hair out: "I can't have my market crew out in all that poison ivy trying to get rid of it, and we sure can't spray a bunch of chemicals all over it!" What's a sustainable organization to do? It turns out that there is an alternative to damaging chemicals and herbicides. Sometimes, the simplest, smartest solution is right under your nose--or, in our case, selling chevre and goat's milk at our farmers' market. Goats have been used to clear land for centuries--it's only in recent years that we've resorted to chemical pesticides for invasive species and weed control. We were thrilled to discover that goats adore poison ivy--they'll happily consume it as food with no adverse effects, so we called our friends at Swede Farm to see if they'd be interested in lending their goats for our landscaping conundrum, and within a week, Ima Hogg and her siblings Syrah, Bluebonnet, La Bahia, Chisolm, and Molly rolled up with an appetite, ready to do what goats do best--clear land by eating everything in sight! You can stop by and visit the goats (and their shepherds) while they're blissfully munching away all day on Wednesdays, and see real sustainability in action--we're so grateful to Swede Farm for offering us the opportunity to create solutions that come full circle with benefits for all.
A Kid'll Eat Ivy Too