Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

Detroit's Unpermitted Goat Experiment Ends—Is a Second Chance Possible?

A hedge fund manager recently took it upon himself to bring 20 goats into Detroit as an experiment of urban agriculture. The city quickly shipped the herd off, but fans of goats wonder why these animals shouldn't have a place in the city.
June 22, 2014, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

Maanvi Singh examines the possibility of keeping goats in the city of Detroit, which has a prohibition on keeping farm animals in the city. "Fans of these weed-munching animals point out that goats are an eco-friendly landscaping option, their meat is a staple in diets around the world and their milk makes for some delicious cheese. It also helps that they're totally adorable."

Singh's examination of the goat question follows on a controversy in Detroit from earlier in June, when "Mark Spitznagel, the founder of the $6 billion hedge fund Universa Investments, on Thursday brought 20 goats to graze among abandoned homes and general detritus in Brightmoor, one of Detroit’s most blighted neighborhoods," according to an earlier article by Alexandra Stevenson.

The plan for the Idyll Farms Detroit project, as it's known, was to "enlist the help of the community — paying previously unemployed adults and enlisting the help of local youths to herd the baby goats — and he plans to build portable housing for the goats in addition to pens and electric fencing. At the end of the summer, Mr. Spitznagel said, he will sell the goats to Detroit butchers and give the proceeds back to the community."

Alas, the experiment lasted only two days before the city cried nay, and the goats will be slaughtered.

Leonard Pollara, who helped Spitznagel implement Detroit's aborted goat invasion, "says they will continue to lobby the local government to allow city goats," according to the article by Singh. Pollara is also quoted: "[while] Detroit is in a dire situation…this is an absolutely amazing opportunity to redefine how agriculture happens in urban environments."

Full Story:
Published on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 in NPR The Salt
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email