While we may clearly have the superior football team, there are a few other ways in which Baltimore resembles Cleveland: vacant land, population loss, and a growing urban agriculture movement. So maybe it’s time for us to sit up and start paying attention to Cleveland’s newest trend: urban livestock grazing.
The Urban Shepherds program came about when folks at the St. Clair Superior Development Corporation remarked that Cleveland’s overgrown vacant lots were both unsightly and dangerous. But in a city that’s already struggling financially, money for lawnmowers is in short supply. Which is where the flock of sheep and their companion llama come in. The plan is for the animals to hang out on a large vacant lot in the city, chomping on grass and keeping things looking tidy through the end of grass-growing season, while also teaching volunteers and local school children about animal husbandry. Take Linell Brookins: “[My wife] wasn’t even surprised,” he said. “I’m also one of those people who is going to have chickens in his back yard before long. I remember the sheep lady out in Willoughby. She had a flock of sheep off 91 and Route 20. We used to ride out there all the time and just watch the sheep. So this will be a joy.”