The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday January 20th

Unlikely help clears space for community garden

The goats were very effective at clearing out the overgrown area surrounding the Scrap Exchange Center.
Buy Photos The goats were very effective at clearing out the overgrown area surrounding the Scrap Exchange Center.

The Scrap Exchange collects materials and offers many services, including a retail store with cheap and accessible materials, onsite programming, corporate team building and birthday parties. The organization is a resource for artists and teachers and is dedicated to environmental progress and community development.

“Our mission is to promote creativity, community and environmental awareness through reuse,” said Marya McNeish, development director of The Scrap Exchange.

The Scrap Exchange received a grant from Duke University to develop community gardens in the area behind the building, McNeish said. The building is located in a largely unoccupied shopping center with an asphalt parking lot, and the organization wants to utilize the space to benefit members of the community.

Hendall Loeffler, an urban farmer who is working for The Scrap Exchange to help lead the project, said the vision is to purchase the majority of the shopping center and make it a community-oriented hangout spot. He said they plan to take out the asphalt and put in beds for more gardens as well as a pavilion.

“We really want to transform this outside space into more of a park,” he said. “We’re gonna remove all this pavement and make it a green and friendly social space.”

And this transformation is exactly what brought The Goat Squad to The Scrap Exchange.

Tetens started The Goat Squad four years ago. The Squad offers vegetation removal services via goats as well as awareness about the effects products have on natural systems.

Tetens said while she was executive director of a watership protection group, she found out about the issue of nonnative invasive plants destroying habitats and the continued destruction from the methods used to remove them. She learned about using goats as a solution and has been molding her business ever since.

Besides being fun to watch work, Tetens said goats are perfect for inaccessible, environmentally-sensitive areas. While they can be used for all types of plants, she said, they are especially great for kudzu.

“Kudzu happens to be the absolute number one perfect food for goats — nutritionally perfect — and they love it,” Tetens said. “It’s a great match. I wish there was more kudzu in Durham.”

McNeish said transforming the entire shopping center will help make the area more environmentally friendly. Taking out the asphalt will help with drainage and make the area more usable for the community in the future.

But for now, The Scrap Exchange just wants The Goat Squad to work its magic.


The Daily Tar Heel for December 1, 2021

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