Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Let's Talk about . . . Poop

We just got an update from our engineering team - they're looking at various methods of managing waste from the goat farm. For those of us inexperienced with farming and ranching, taking care of fecal matter and other waste isn't something we normally consider, but it's essential element of the operation.

In an urban environment, this becomes even more important than in a rural area. Smell, runoff, and space all impact more people nearby, so some traditional methods of waste management may not be an option. Currently, the engineers are considering an anaerobic digester, which may be less than ideal because of the dryness of goat manure; composting, attractive for being environmentally friendly but possibly a very long-term commitment; and a parking lot (traditional) method, which is not preferred simply because it lacks the innovation we'd hoped to see on this project. Other suggested methods are distributing the manure for fertilizer or using it to heat a hoop house (which could be used to grow crops).

Besides manure, some of our products may involve waste. Meat is a relatively simple proposition, since the goats would likely be sold to a meat processing facility, but cheese comes with a lot of liquid waste.

What kind of waste management would you like to see? Any new ideas?

Sunday, November 22, 2009


The Detroit Goat Farm began as a kitchen table discussion between two friends. Now, it has expanded, with planning from a team of biosystems engineering students as well as assistance from students in the fields of animal science and urban planning.

The dream is to start a non-profit goat farm within Detroit city limits, using and revitalizing an area of Detroit that is currently vacant. Such a project would create agricultural education opportunities within the city, allow for research about urban ranching, generate a modest number of jobs in a city with close to 30% unemployment, and provide fresh food in a city classified as a "food desert."

This blog is to create awareness of the Detroit Goat Farm goals and update interested individuals and organizations about progress being made by the Goat Team.