Edgewater Returns to Its Roots: Goats and Sustainability

Like most small towns in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Edgewater’s roots are as a farming community. Residents owned chickens, goats and other animals on their plots of land that were much bigger than they are today. As urban farming and sustainability grows in popularity, Edgewater residents are pushing back on zoning codes so that they can have more farm animals and lead a sustainable life.

At the last Edgewater City Council meeting on April 16, resident Alison Williams raised concerns about zoning codes that limit the number of animals one resident can have on their property. Williams was concerned that her goats would count toward the total number of animals allowed.

Since then Edgewater residents have been sharing their opinions about goats in Edgewater on the social media site NextDoor. We thought we would give Alison a chance to share her thoughts on this issue of goats and zoning codes. Feel free to share your opinion in the comments below.

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By Alison Williams

In 2008, I was searching for a diamond in the rough and fell upon a foreclosure home in Edgewater. I remember turning left onto 25th Avenue from Sheridan, and noticing the lake on my right. I thought, “can this be real?” I continued on my way down 25th, passing all of the street lights, feeling like I was driving through a warm, welcoming small town. I took a right on Eaton and saw this quaint, historic home with a for sale sign out front. I immediately called my realtor to set up a showing for that night. When my family arrived, we were greeted by a neighborhood cat, so the house was forever labeled the “kitty house” by my daughter. We walked into the house, and knew the search was over. This was where I wanted to live the rest of my life. Since 2008, we put tons of money, sweat equity and love into our home. We love this home like a family member and see great things here. I’m proud of living in our small town in the big city!

Now that I’m where I plan to retire, I want to teach my children about sustainability and being a positive part of our community. I fell onto goat farming 3 months ago, because I loved the idea of having healthy fresh milk directly from the source, and knew a cow was too big of an undertaking (I have always LOVED them). I looked into what goat farming was all about and decided to check it out. What I discovered is that they are beyond awesome. They offer the friendliness of dogs, curiosity of cats, and they pay their way with milk, beautiful fiber, and between 1-4 babies that we can sell. Since jumping into this endeavor, we have completely fallen in love and can’t wait until June when we get to meet our first babies!

This whole experience has taught our children about sustainability and seeing our land as a resource for independence; but, on top of that, we love it. We have had countless moments of laughter from Homer doing ollies off of the railing or feeding all three of them our orange peels while we eat out on the back patio. We’re outside all the time and I truly believe we are a better family because of them. I can’t wait to see what our future will be and know they will always be a part of it!

As a now avid urban/goat-farmer, I am committed to keeping our beautiful town friendly and sustainable and plan on hosting lots of community events to educate everyone about urban farming (or more specifically goat farming as that’s what I am gaining experience on first hand). I have decided to make my yard an “open gate” for any members of the community to come visit our “goaty goats” (as my son calls them) and would be happy to hear anyone’s thoughts or ideas on how to keep our little town the happy place I fell in love with.

On this note, I will be hosting an urban farming informational event on May 3rd from 10am-4pm at my home (2528 Eaton Street). I hope to see all of my fellow Edgewaterites there!!!!

1 Comment on "Edgewater Returns to Its Roots: Goats and Sustainability"

  1. Kate Mulcahy | Apr 27, 2015 at 9:24 pm | Reply

    Alison,
    I love that you are raising awareness about urban farming in Edgewater. My husband and I are beginning to warm up to the idea of having chickens in the backyard to provide fresh eggs and a great lesson for our kids. We hope to check out your mini-farm this Sunday. Thanks for your hard work!
    ~Kate

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