Atlantic Cities

Eco-Friendly Trend of the Day: Using Goats to Graze D.C. Cemetery Grounds

Eco-Friendly Trend of the Day: Using Goats to Graze D.C. Cemetery Grounds
Charles Dharapak/AP Photo

In the age of digital omnipresence and solar-powered everything, it’s refreshing to see Washington D.C.’s Congressional Cemetery taking a low-tech approach to getting tough jobs done.


Charles Dharapak/AP Photo

The Washington Post reports that a herd of over 50 goats arrived at the 206-year-old cemetery Wednesday morning, tasked with chewing down an acre worth of poison ivy and other plants invading trees and gravestones. These goats, which will be grazing an enclosed area adjacent to the actual burial ground for the next week, are an eco-friendly and budget-friendly option for treating overgrown grounds. Paul Williams, President of the Historic Congressional Cemetery, told CNN that employing the herd for a week costs $4000, at a rate of about only 25 cents an hour per goat.

It turns out, D.C.is far from the only city employing goats for maintenance in recent years. Seattle’s Department of Transportation hired goats to clear a hill. Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport brought in goats to munch away weeds on airport property. The city of Paris invited four black sheep to be resident lawnmowers at a half-acre grassy patch. Last month, Amazon Japan’s Gifu Prefecture distribution center began hosting goats once a week to graze grass. No doubt,  the worldwide goat invasion is sure to continue.

Jenny Xie is a fellow at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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