Fat and Sassy Goats arrive at the Harvey School
As part of the Rooted Solutions Action Area, Bedford 2030 has worked with the Town of Bedford, the Harvey School, and Fat and Sassy Goats to pilot goat grazing as natural vegetation management in Bedford.
The Harvey School has hired Fat and Sassy Goats, ownded and operated by Jenn Balch and Donald Arrand, to manage an infestation of invasive vines on their property using natural methods as an alternative to chemical herbicides. Goats provide several services to revitalize soil health, maintain native tree canopy, and preserve groundwater health by preventing use of chemical weed management. Because of these ecological benefits, Bedford 2030 will be analyzing the effectiveness of employing goats as natural land management over the course of this project.
What are invasive species?
- Invasive vines like Porcelain Berry can dominate landscapes and crowd out other native species, significanly altering local ecology and limiting potential carbon capture.
- Controlling the local seed bank of invasive species reduces their likelihood of spreading across communities. That means, you’re helping your own property’s health as well as your neighbor’s.
- 10 goats can clear an acre in 30 days. Over the course of three grazing seasons, the prevalence of the invasive species is significantly reduced and potentially eradicated.
- Though goats don’t eat EVERYTHING, they naturally prefer “pest” plants which threaten our woodlands.
- Goats remain at the site regardless of weather, and seek natural shelter in the rain. Water and supplemental feed is provided as needed.
- Goats are moved every 2-3 days to encourage effective grazing, provide natural manure, and soil aeration across the property.
- Goat digestion naturally ferments the seeds they ingest, making them unviable for regeneration.
- Goats defoliate the invasive plants, effectively removing their “solar panels” and depriving them the energy they need to grow.
- A solar-powered fence keeps them safe from predators.