Community Owned Goats

Lynne Davis, Street Goat
Monday, 21st December 2015

How keeping dairy goats in the community can help clear unused and overgrown land, while creating saleable cheese and milk.

Street Goat: A different way of thinking about creating our food system.

 Einstein said "You can't solve a problem with the thinking that created it." 

Being Permaculturalists there is one thing that we can all agree on: Our food system needs to change! This is something that we know. We've read the campaigns, the statistics, the facts. For years food system doom and gloom has been fed to us. For us permaculturalists, we've heard the message. But for most it has fallen on deaf ears.

What if we've been thinking about change in the wrong way?

What if instead of talking about facts we need to find a new way to engage people in the real meaning and impact of the most fundamental thing we have in common, the fact that we eat.

Here's a little thought experiment:
 Would the experience of buying milk and cheese be different when you milk yourself? Suddenly the stories you've heard of mega-dairies and caged animals are relevant, relatable to your friends. With one hand you actively take responsibility for creating a great life for your animals. How could you actively impose cruelty on other animals with the other?

What if we became the farmers that know how hard it is to balance the books. Suddenly the animals that produce our food are part of our everyday life, something we think about every day. Perhaps we experience the weight of sending our animals to slaughter, we feel the gravity of the nature of this relationship. 

If more people worked directly with some of the most environmentally destructive foods, meat and dairy, would it change their behaviour? 

We want to find out!

Street Goat is a simple idea, communities keep dairy goats on unused and overgrown land around Bristol, the goats help clear the brambles and weeds and the waste land is put back into use. The community caring for the goats will share the costs, the responsibilities and the milk - making cheese and yoghurt together and reconnecting people directly with animals and their food in a city setting.

It's not that radical. Only a few generations ago, most people had direct experience with small livestock that lived on our waste and kept our hedges in check. Goats can help manage overgrown allotments and help to bring them back into production. They can help clear land ready to plant orchards, and save tax money maintaining difficult to manage land.

In a city like Bristol, we are well placed to prove the model works and bring real benefits to local communities. If so we might open the doors to real food sovereignty in the city.

Street Goat is hoping for the opportunity to test our idea. For only ONE MORE WEEK we are crowdfunding with the aim of reaching £9,000 to start our first site.

If you'd like to help us realise this dream please donate:

For more reasons why Street Goat makes a real difference

Further resources

Watch: The tiny, mobile community classroom

Community permaculture projects

Starting with Goats


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