Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Feel Good News

It's Friday, and in my books, that means it's time to feel good. Let's set aside the doom-and-gloom stories for a moment and focus on some good news!


If today's FFGN news doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will.

In a small town in Ohio, a young entrepreneur has been making money the old-fashioned way. The really, really old, old-fashioned way: he used sheep to keep his clients' lawns short. That's right, this summer he rented out two Jacob sheep (a heritage breed, I'll have you know) for $1 per sheep per day to eat up the grass and weeds, and miraculously the ovines didn't touch the flowers or other decorative plants! It may have taken them up to a few days to finish their grazing, but in the mean time the homeowners kicked back and relaxed, and pollution-emitting gas mowers did no harm.

Eddie Miller, founder (and shepherd) of Heritage Lawn Mowing, is only 23 years old. He turned to entrepreneurship when no job opportunities presented themselves after he graduated from university last year. Though he had to supplement his income by working on a local farm, he was happy to accept barter payments for the lawn mowing and kept his prices low, driven by a desire to make the service accessible to all. Mostly, he seemed to like the rewarding work and rural way of life, though he does have dreams of scaling up his business in future years to take on bigger projects, with the long-term goal of running an organic farm company.

I, for one, am equally impressed and amused by this venture and hope to see some sheep mowers in my neck of the woods some time soon. To read more on this story and find out about other non-traditional agricultural start-ups, check out this article.

Photo of Jacob sheep used under Creative Commons from Lynn Gardner (flickr).


  1. Okay, that's simply awesome. Can we get that in Toronto?

    I would get a place with a lawn just so I could rent sheep to mow it!

  2. I wonder what happens when sheep are left to graze on lawns in the city? Would the neighbourhood cats gang up together to try to take one down? :)

    If this were my business I'd work in the suburbs where the lawns are huge. Increase the flock size and work multiple yards at once. The question is, how much does it cost to keep feeding them over the winter when there's no more grass?

  3. Awesome! Let's start a sheep mowing company =P

  4. Great article; thanks for sharing. Sounds similar to what I've been working on. I'm slowing expanding my urban farming opportunities to help me save money, but I've yet to find a way to actually MAKE money from it. I have to keep brainstorming and reading about what others are doing. Its certainly challenging being an urban homesteader without owning land.

    The thing I wonder about the sheep lawn mowing business- since he charges so little, it seems that he'd barely be able to pay for gas to get from location to location. Plus, transporting the sheep by car isn't carbon free. I think he should big cart that attaches to a bike so he can pedal them around.

  5. True, this isn't financially sustainable, and the transportation issue is tricky. I did a quick search and found out that "someone in reasonable physical condition can generally pull a 300 lb load at 10 mph / 16 km/h on level ground if there's no wind" ( If an average Jacob sheep weighs 125 lbs, then only two could be transported by bike trailer at a time without making a great sacrifice in speed. Hm...

  6. What a great concept! I desperately need a few sheep to keep our lawn in good shape. Maybe the business will make its way to the east coast. I'm just envisioning sheep mowers all around the hood.

  7. Lori - Not just sheep mowers, urban shepherds, too! A brand new job type in the city that never existed before. :)