Mission and Vision

Vision statement:

Creating communities of conscious stewards of the land, inspired by goats. 
 
Mission statement:
Sustainable land management and fire risk reduction through outreach, education, and implementation of goat grazing.
 
We are recreating City Grazing as a non-profit. Why? 

We want to recreate CG as an amazing nonprofit, engaged in community building and sustainable land management, working with local schools, universities, community organizations, municipalities, Fire Safe Councils, fire departments, residents, businesses, and home owners’ associations’ to create fire safety, intelligently managed land, awareness of carbon sequestration, and well-being – community health,  healthy local land management, and planetary atmospheric health. How?

Community mental health and well-being:

We want City Grazing to reach out to inspire directly with goats through as many public appearances, school visits, and social events as we can. We have taken goats to Bayview community events sponsored by the India Basin Neighborhood Association; Earth Day events at Bayview Opera House, USF, and UCSF; ACC’s Pet Pride Day in Golden Gate Park; San Francisco Friends School; SF Academy of Sciences; and many presentations at day-camps and schools throughout SF. We bring goats to San Francisco Department of Public Works’ Arbor Day events and Friday Night Markets. We also attend many local community festivals. Through all of this we reach many urban residents, adults and especially children, many of whom otherwise have little access to animals. The soothing, positive, transformational effect is immediately apparent. Contact with the goats facilitates a sense of well-being and an opportunity for personal growth and environmental education. We want to find ways to extend this to retirement communities, community centers, and more schools. 

Volunteers: City Grazing offers volunteer opportunities to work with the goats and in our public outreach. We are organizing and enlarging our already-stellar volunteer team through staff events to keep volunteers well informed about what we do, how and why it works, and why doing more with goats is better.

A place for goats: City Grazing can also provide a new home for goats in need. Our current herd originated with 10 goats that were headed for slaughter; some are failed dairy goats, some were adopted from overzealous homeowners, and others have come from the 4-H agricultural program. These are goats with excellent dispositions well suited for working closely with the public and urban grazing. We currently selectively accept goats that will be a good fit with our existing herd. We plan to expand our facilities with volunteer labor and possible grant funding after achieving 501(c)3 status so we can accept more goats who require additional care or a slower transition into the larger herd.

Other services for the community: We are seeking grant funding and partnering opportunities to provide fire hazard reduction to those who might otherwise have a difficult time getting what they need, such as the incredible community services through the Diablo Fire Safe Council.

In January we host a Christmas tree recycling program, inviting San Francisco residents to bring their families to visit the goats and feed them their tree. In 2015 we partnered on this with the San Francisco Fire Department, the Red Cross, and Pacific Gas & Electric, and plan to again in future years.

Planetary health:
Carbon sequestration describes long-term storage of carbon dioxide or other forms of carbon to either mitigate or defer global warming and avoid dangerous climate change. It has been proposed as a way to slow the atmospheric and marine accumulation of greenhouse gases, which are released by burning fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide is naturally captured from the atmosphere through biological, chemical, or physical processes. 

Grazing animals play a key role in maximizing carbon sequestration; concentrating livestock in small areas for days at a time so they graze lightly but evenly encourages roots of perennial grasses to grow deeper into the soil while discouraging propagation of invasive annual seed bearing plants, further promoting more growth of the perennial species. Adding a thin layer of compost following grazing creates unprecedented carbon sequestration in the soil according to research done through the Marin Carbon Project. We see huge potential for small yet significant gains in carbon sequestration in plots of urban land. We wish to assist in researching the likely environmental effects of long term small scale grazing by reaching out to soil scientists and environmental studies students to start testing on City Grazing’s pasture and other grazing sites. Our goal is to partner with agencies such as the Carbon Cycle Institute, Marin Carbon Project, and Kiss the Ground to study, educate and develop public awareness and support for carbon sequestration in soil. 
 
“Carbon sequestration is the long- term storage of carbon in oceans, soils, vegetation, and geologic formations. Although oceans store most of the Earth’s carbon, soils contain approximately 75% of the carbon pool on land — three times more than the amount stored in living plants and animals. 

Through the process of photosynthesis, plants assimilate carbon and return some of it to the atmosphere through respiration. The carbon that remains as plant tissue is then consumed by animals or added to the soil as litter when plants die and decompose. The primary way that carbon is stored in the soil is as soil organic matter (SOM). SOM is a complex mixture of carbon compounds, consisting of decomposing plant and animal tissue, microbes (protozoa, nematodes, fungi, and bacteria), and carbon associated with soil minerals. Carbon can remain stored in soils for millennia, or be quickly released back into the atmosphere. Climatic conditions, natural vegetation, soil texture, and drainage all affect the amount and length of time carbon is stored.
Removing CO2 from the atmosphere is only one significant benefit of enhanced carbon storage in soils. Improved soil and water quality, decreased nutrient loss, reduced soil erosion, increased water conservation, and greater crop production may result from increasing the amount of carbon stored in agricultural soil.” - Ecological Society of America
 
 
“All the carbon in carbohydrates come from the air and nowhere else. Through photosynthesis, plants convert the sun’s energy into simple sugars or carbohydrates. The plants use water (H2O) from the soil and carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and recombine them to form carbohydrates (COH) and oxygen (O2).

These carbohydrates then form the basis of the food chain for humans, animals and the soil ecosystem. Living plant roots actively exude sugars, amino acids and other compounds into the soil to feed soil organisms that in return provide nutrients to the plants and build the soil. Microbes in the soil create enzymes to break down existing organic matter or mineral soil, making nutrients more available to the plant. And, they use these carbohydrates (sugars) to build carbon glues that aggregate the soil particles so air and water can move through the soil system.

Mycorrhizae are a specific and especially beneficial fungi that form symbiotic associations with plant roots in the soil. Enlarging the surface-absorbing area of the roots by 100 to 1,000 times or more, mycorrhizae create long threads that create a net which acts like an extension of the root system. This makes the roots of the plant much more effective in the uptake of water and nutrients. A suite of studies conducted by University of California at Berkeley based Silver Labs for the Marin Carbon Project have demonstrated that photosynthetic soil carbon sequestration in grazed rangelands can be promoted by a one time application of compost and that this carbon is transferred to and stored in the more recalcitrant fractions of the soil. Compost itself is also good at increasing soil organic matter (SOM) because it breaks down more slowly and improves soil structure more quickly than other organic materials. Increases in SOM increase plant and soil health which in turn enhances photosynthetic transfer of carbon dioxide to soil carbon.

There are dozens of other common conservation and agricultural practices that can also build and retain soil carbon. The USDA refers to these as “carbon farming” practices. There is also a movement in today’s agricultural community looking at practices that are “regenerative” in nature; those that build soil, increase tolerance to drought, enhance biodiversity and sequester carbon.
Soil Organic Matter (50% carbon) is one of the most important aspects of what makes a soil healthy. Soil health, is defined as the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans. By regulating water, buffering pollution, providing habitat for microorganisms, cycling nutrients and providing stable structure for plants, healthy soil increases drought tolerance and increases productivity.”- The Soil Story
 
“Carbon Farming involves implementing practices that are known to improve the rate at which CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and converted to plant material and/or soil organic matter. Carbon farming is successful when carbon gains resulting from enhanced land management and/or conservation practices exceed carbon losses.

Research by the Marin Carbon Project scientists indicates that a single application of a half-inch layer of compost on grazed rangelands significantly increases forage production (by 40-70%), increases soil water holding capacity (to 26,000 liters per hectare), and increases soil carbon sequestration by at least 1 ton per hectare per year for 30 years without re-application. Compost decomposition provides a slow release fertilizer to the soils, which, with improved soil moisture conditions, leads to increased plant growth. More plant growth leads to more carbon dioxide being removed from the atmosphere through the process of photosynthesis, leading to increased transfer of carbon dioxide through the plant to the soil as roots, root exudates and detritus, yielding additional soil carbon and water holding capacity increases. More water and more soil yields more plants, and the cycle ascends and spirals regeneratively, all from one initial compost application.

According to Marin Carbon Project research, sequestration of just one metric ton per hectare on half the rangeland area in California would offset 42 million metric tons of CO2e, an amount equivalent to the annual green house gas emissions from energy use for all commercial and residential sectors in California.

Initial research was conducted on actively grazed rangelands. There are 23 million hectares of rangeland in California alone, and it is the largest land type on our planet today. Grasslands co-evolved with ungulates (hoofed animals) over millions of years. Properly scaled in space and time, grazing stimulates plant growth through a variety of mechanisms, resulting in increased carbon capture by the grazed ecosystem. Grasslands have great potential to function as a sponge for carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. However, test plots where grazing alone was measured continued to lose more carbon than they sequestered, illuminating that our rangelands might require a practice in addition to grazing to restore their natural carbon cycle balance. Test plots where compost was applied showed the greatest carbon sequestration gains. Not only has compost applied to grazed lands been demonstrated to be an effective way to increase soil carbon sequestration, it is also a proven method for avoiding emissions related to the anaerobic decomposition of organic waste material in landfills.

Efforts are now underway to adopt the compost protocol at state, national and international levels to support the financial incentivizing of this practice for the benefit of the landowner and the climate. The non-profit organization known as the American Carbon Registry (ACR) has approved a voluntary methodology for greenhouse gas emission reductions from compost additions to grazed grasslands. The ACR is a leader in creating high standards and protocols and has issued 37 million carbon off-sets since its inception.” -Carbon Cycle Institute
For more information please visit these sites:
 
Ecological Society of America:  http://www.esa.org/esa/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/carbonsequestrationinsoils.pdf
The Soil Story:  http://thesoilstory.com
Carbon Cycle Institute:  http://www.carboncycle.org/about-cci/
The Marin Carbon Project:  http://www.marincarbonproject.org
 
Thank you!
-Genevieve