Ok so goats or sheep might be more practical, but what if communities agreed to stop mowing their lawns and instead collectively invested in a farm animal that would rotate from one yard to the next?
The potential benefits would range from being more eco-friendly and emitting fewer greenhouse gases (if you forego the cow), to having access to fresh goat or sheep’s milk, to making cheese to possibly even producing your own cashmere. Yes cashmere is really goat hair that comes from a specific breed of goat. Having these cute little furry friends around would also benefit the kids in the area, by providing them the opportunity to be more in touch with nature. Those living in neighborhoods deciding to take this idea on would then also have an increased sense of community, as they would all be collectively responsible for the animals and be forced to get out of their own bubble and interact with those living around them.
While I admit having farm animals living in suburban areas might be a little tricky, logistically it can be done and the concept of goat mowers has been adopted by quite a few, such as Google (“Mowing with Goats”). Google claims the cost of renting about 200 goats is roughly equivalent to hiring lawn mowers. So it seems another functional model would be to hire someone to bring a group of goats in and then take them away once the job is done.
Either way goats are cleaner than lawnmowers. Lawnmowers and other yard work equipment like chainsaws have not been regulated in the same way as cars, so a lawnmower puts out just as much hydrocarbon into the air as a car does in one hour, according to the New York Times.
I still think we can figure out a way to incorporate more animals into our daily lives. Now I know schools are considering maintaining their own vegetable gardens to teach kids about healthy food and where it comes from, but why can’t they also have 10 or so goats, and each weekend let a different child take one of the goats home to tie up in their yard and eat their grass?