‘The Running of the Goats’: NYC Park Gets Rid of Invasive and Poison Plants With 24 Goats Enjoying a Vacation

If one doesn’t want to use herbicides to control their lawn, what’s the alternative to constant mowing and hedge-trimming? Well, in olden days, they used goats.

In fact, many organic landscapers today use goats, as they are living weed whackers, immune to all sorts of natural poisons and seemingly unfazed by thorns. They can eat poison oak as easy as we can eat a piece of celery.

In Manhattan’s Riverside Park, two dozen goats have been unleashed upon untended and overgrown brush and weeds in order to avoid having to use chemicals, or spending thousands in labor costs.

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“They chowed down on Japanese knotweed, they noshed on porcelain berry, they snacked on multiflora rose, they easily traversed the hard-to-reach terrain behind me and gulped down poison ivy without even giving it a second thought,” said Dan Garodnick, Riverside Park Conservancy president and CEO at the ceremonial day of deployment.

“It’s healthy for the goats and it’s good for the environment. That’s farm to table.”

Along with working much longer hours than landscapers, goats—according to Jordon Martins-Cihanek, son of the owner of Green Goats farm who provided the animals—actually neutralize a lot of the seeds of the various unwanted plants, preventing them from regrowing next year.

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The team of 24 goats will eventually be reduced down to five lucky landscapers: Skittles, Ms. Bo Peep, Chalupa, Mallemar, and Buckles, who will live in the park until August 24th, at which time the (G)reatest (O)f (A)ll (T)ime goat-grading competition will produce a winner, who presumably gets the next park all to themselves.

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