City Grazing, San Francisco

20140821_0426

I’ve always wondered about the goats I’ve seen grazing along the railroad tracks in San Francisco’s Bayview District. Recently I got the chance to meet manager Genevieve Church and learn about the city’s largest herd of weed eating goats.

It all started six years ago when Genevieve’s boss, David Gavrich brought in goats to keep the weeds down along the railroad tracks at his company, Waste Solutions Group. Later he started renting out the herd to others and City Grazing was born. Today Genevieve does most of the marketing and but she still knows all 96 of the goats by name and she loves working with them. “They are really smart animals she says and unlike sheep, they’re too smart to have a herd leader” she says.

Goats are also very strong, independent and hardy. Pound for pound they are about 4 times as strong as dogs. They are “opportunistic browsers” and are perfect for clearing invasive weeds such as blackberries and ivy, which are high in salt and copper, two minerals that goats need. The myth of goats eating anything is partly because of their need for salt and minerals.

I was surprised to see all the goats with their horns still attached since some cities require them to be disbudded. Genevieve says there’s no reason to remove them. The horns are part of the goats and they use them. She’s also noticed the animals are better behaved with the horns attached. “The ones that came to us without horns act like they have something to prove” she says. The horns are also natural handles and are useful when trying to guide them.

City Grazing rents out the goats to clear public and private land and there are lots of advantages for using them for weed control: they work in rough terrain, there’s no hauling of debris, or need for herbacides and they fertilize as they go. The cost for renting the goats ranges from $300 to $1200 and there are four factors Genevieve uses to estimate a job: location, fencing needs, size and type of vegetation. The goats also are rented out for events like birthday parties, weddings and photo shoots. Since Genevieve knows them all she’s able to help pick the right goat for the job.

This year has brought many new kids to the herd. 29 does gave birth to over 50 kids. City Grazing is in the process of switching to smaller sized animals that are easier to transport and control. Visit citygrazing.com for more info.

20140821_0323

Genevieve Church holds one of this year’s kids at City Grazing.

20140821_0283

Employee Josh Benson feeds the goats.

20140821_0470

20140821_0540

20140821_0535

 

Renegade Craft Fair

20140720_0195

The Renegade Craft Fair came to SF July 19th and 20th and I went to check out local crafts. (I know, I know, it’s not an urban farm, but the HANDMADE crafts made by talented mostly LOCAL artists, many using SUSTAINABLE material and the stuff was AWESOME.) And some was even farm inspired… Check out the edited version of some of the really great stuff I saw below. If you missed the fair and are interested in buying just contact the artists via their websites…
CraftsTryptych

(Above, L-R) Beautiful, texture-y yarn Necklaces by SF artist Rachel Robertson  www.racheltrobertson.com

I wanted to buy all of the bright, bold hand-printed vegetable screen prints by SF artist Jen Kindell www.jenniferkindell.com

Art Toys by Boston based Mimi Kirchner http://mimikirchner.com/. Her animals and tattooed men reminded me of Wes Anderson characters.

20140720_0147

(Above) I had to buy a t shirt from local artist Ritsuko Hirai https://ritsukohirai.com How could I resist the cat driving a station wagon?

Crafts2Tryptych

(Above, L-R)  I still want a necklace from Santa Monica artist Justin Marsh. He makes jewelry from keys. https://www.etsy.com/shop/goatandkettle

Mountain pillows from Olympia WA http://www.threebadseeds.com

Practical, beautiful and interesting cherry wood utensils from Jonathan Simons http://treespoons.com

20140720_0136-2(Above) San Francisco artist Alyson Thomas makes food and drink inspired art. http://drywellart.com/

20140720_0102(Above) And who are these guys?? I think the artist is the one holding the dog, but I can’t find his card… If anyone knows let me know! His work is great!