Start a Grazing Program

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An urban grazing project in your community would provide the opportunity to repurpose and manage unproductive lands through sheep grazing to leverage the environmental, economic, and social benefits associated with more productive land.

For the past few years, we have been successfully using sheep graze or mow, fertilize, and re-seed sites in our region. These sheep ultimately serve as a local food source, as well as a source of wool products such as clothing, blankets, and art.

For the landowner, using sheep greatly reduces the cost of land management (mowing, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides) and reduces the environmental impact by replacing typical land management styles with a more natural process.

For the farmers, urban grazing offers the opportunity to extend grazing space and markets by effectively connecting the urban farming movement and consumers.

For the community, grazing provides social benefits through entertainment, education, and outreach. Schools, churches, community groups, and other agritourists “flock” to the sites, transforming unused land into interactive classrooms to educate and promote environmentalism, farming, and sustainable agriculture.

Our staff spends most of our time on educational programming.

One day workshops are given at the beginning of demonstration programs before the sheep arrive. At these initial workshop, at minimum, we expect to cover: Shepherding (what happens when), Conservation grazing (why we graze), Common sheep ailments (what you might spot), Predators and Parasites (how to protect the flock), FAMACHA Training (when to treat your sheep/goat), How to handle a sheep (what you will need to do), and Handling electric sheep netting (for rotational grazing). We will have a webpage dedicated to the project where all materials, including copies of and links to the lamb resource database, can be downloaded.

Then each week before or after assessments during the grassing season, the urban shepherds learn more in depth information in a series of classes so that by the end of the growing season, they will have covered: Where to Find Your Flock, The Shepherd’s Calendar, Reproduction and Lambing, Flock Health and Nutrition, Housing and Handling, Record Keeping and Farm Management, and Direct Marketing Lamb.

While on site, we field questions from the public and the press.

Site Suitability & Preparation

Urban Shepherds will assess sites that you have in mind and review GIS databases for additional potential sites in your region. We will also help you prepare your sites for grazing and determine stocking density and rotational grazing patterns.

Zoning & Permitting

We have developed model zoning codes for seasonal small ruminant grazing as well as livestock urban grazing. We will help your community prepare regulations that ensure a productive grazing program.

Funding

Urban Shepherds will assist you in the process of securing funding to start up your regional program from foundations and sponsors.

Purchasing or Leasing a Flock

We will link you with professional shepherds who will provide you with a clean flock for your grazing project.

Shepherd Training

Working with a local professional shepherd, we will train you how to care for your flock during the grazing season.

Consulting

Urban Shepherds will provide you with any assistance that you need to start up your urban farming program.