Earth Week 2023: Goats on the Go - a greener way to garden

Earth Week 2023: Goats on the Go - a greener way to garden

CASSOPOLIS, Mich. - Whether it be pesky weeds or invasive plants species, sometimes greenery just has to go - and one local family is offering a new, eco-friendly way to do it. 

Vanessa Frias, a Michiana native, started Willowbrook Farms with her husband and kids in 2022. 

"My husband and I wanted to teach my family just how to be sustainable, how do we do things on our own and not have to necessarily depend on the world for everything," Frias expressed. "And so we said ‘well, let’s go out and move into the country and see what we can do’."

From humble beginnings with just a few backyard chickens, the farm has now exploded with growth, adding ducks, pigs, sheep, and goats. Not only does their farm produce eggs and meat but it also provides a service, one that helps to keep our planet a little greener.

Goats on the Go is a company with affiliates nationwide that uses targeted grazing to get rid of weeds, heavy brush, and invasive plant species without the use of powered machinery or poisonous herbicides. Herds of goats are taken to overgrown lots, parks, and even airports to help clear vegetation, all while leaving behind their natural fertilizer which provides nutrients to the soil. 

The Frias family is partnering with the company for the first time this year to bring this service to Michiana.

Although the goats are very helpful with heavy brush and invasive plants, some jobs require a more specialized landscaper. Sheep on the Go is another part of Goats on the Go which utilizes herds of sheep to tackle shorter grasses, such as underneath solar panels.

Solar power is also used to protect the goats as the fencing that keeps them in their work zones runs on portable solar panels. The low voltage shock sent through the fencing helps to keep the goats from wandering off and getting hurt or lost, but it also helps to dissuade predators from getting in. 

Willowbrook Farms, even in its infancy, is making strides in the community towards finding more sustainable methods to get things done.

When asked if the farm was started with "Going Green" in mind, Frias responded, “it was definitely a huge influencer for us because we thought ‘gosh, we get to have sheep, we get to help out our planet, we get to regenerate our planet’ all while enjoying the idea of having animals and teaching our kids how to raise them and take care of them.”

If you'd like to see the farm and meet their goats, the Frias family is hosting a Goat Launch Party on Sunday, May 21st from 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM. For more information, visit their website or their Facebook page.

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