Goats, Sheep Get City Jobs as Landscapers

<p>Cities like San José, CA are moving away from modern methods to keep grass down and going back to traditional methods like grazing sheep and goats.</p>
June 14, 2008, 1pm PDT | Tim Halbur
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"It is the year of weed-snackers rather than weed-whackers. As a way of controlling invasive vegetation and renewing the land, the ancient idea of using sheep and goats is finding renewed favor. In Northern California alone, at least 10 companies compete for the business."

Living Systems Land Management of San Francisco is one of those firms, and a supplier to the City of San José.

"A spokeswoman for Living Systems, Charlotte Lewis, who happens to be Jared's mother, says the company - which rents animals from farmers - used herds on 100 acres last year. This year, they expect the acreage to exceed 300.

Twenty-six of those acres belong to the Mineta San Jose International Airport. If you take De La Cruz Boulevard south from Highway 101, you can see the goats and sheep on the right. They're expected to be on the job until mid-June, chewing through a couple of acres a day. Total cost to the city: $11,700.

"It's a nice thing to brighten your morning to see a flock of sheep out there next to a piece of radar equipment," said airport spokesman David Vossbrink. "It's a reminder that you don't have to have the latest technology to solve a problem.""

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Published on Thursday, June 12, 2008 in San Jose Mercury News
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