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Tue June 10, 2014
No goats allowed! Detroit shuts down a farm's efforts to rid Brightmoor of blight
A herd of goats has been evicted from weedy lots on Detroit's west side.
The animals were brought into the blight-ridden Brightmoor neighborhoods late last week to eat the overgrown weeds and grass.
But the city of Detroit swooped in straight away to shut down the goat farm, called Idyll Farms Detroit, noting that current zoning laws don't allow goats within the city limits.
Overgrown weeds and trash on Westbrook Street, between Acacia Avenue and Kendall Street, made the block nearly impossible to pass through. The Brightmoor community partnered with Idyll Farms to clear it.
On Memorial Day weekend, the community loaded up five 30-yard Dumpsters with trash. Eighteen male goats were brought in Thursday afternoon to be used as lawn mowers, so volunteers can pick up the trash.
Around noon the next day, Detroit Animal Control showed up to enforce an ordinance against farm animals within the city limits.
Leonard Pollara is a consultant with Idyll Farms Detroit. He said that Idyll Farms was aware that an ordinance existed, but they were asked by the Brightmoor community not to engage with city hall, and said the city would not enforce the animal control ordinance.
Pollara said that Idyll Farms was fully prepared to remove the goats at any time if the city required them to do so.
Pollara added that Detroit has not yet perfected an ordinance that would allow for farm animals within agriculture zones. However, Idyll Farms has experience in operating farms and managing agriculture systems.
“We are very interested in offering our resources and expertise to the city,” Pollara said.
Pollara added that they are not interested in backing away and want to remain in a partnership with the Brightmoor community.
*Listen to full interview above.
–Bre'Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom