Goats Evicted In Detroit

An attempt at urban farming runs afoul of city ordinances in Detroit

Allyson Scott/Design Pics/Corbis

Goats have been touted as an environmentally friendly answer to weedy problems, but Detroit, for one, is having none of it

Hedge-fund manager Mark Spitznagel recently tried to help clear up Detroit’s weed-infested lots by letting 18 goats tidy up the Brightmoor neighborhood in an urban farming experiment. The plan was to hire local residents to help at the farm and, eventually, to sell the goats, with the profits returning to the community. 

Residents of the neighborhood seemed to welcome the project, as the Detroit Free Press reports

Brightmoor resident Jermaine Houser said he’s lived in the area for more than 24 years and welcomed the idea of a goat farm on a block that only has one standing home left. Houser said he’s seen several people, including children and teenagers, stop by the farm to pet the goats and learn more about the farm.

“Since we’re in a city that’s strapped for cash, I think we should come up with something like this that’s positive that will help the city,” Houser said. “The fact that it will bring employment to some in the community, it’s helping the city and businesses around and it’s keeping all of the money in the community. I’ve seen all of these houses burn down and disappear. It’s nice to see something different for a change"

But the city didn’t agree, and they evicted the goats for violating a city ordinance that forbade the raising of wild or farm animals. Spitznagel plans to try again, this time with a formal proposal through the Mayor’s office. 

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