George Washington University (GW, GWU)

Sheep ‘Mow' GW's Community Garden

Sheep clear GW's GroW Community Garden for spring cleaning

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Students at George Washington University hired sheep to mow the grass at their community garden Monday for some natural lawn care.

Ten sheep were brought in by from Fairfax. The sheep ate the weeds and fertilized the student-run garden to prepare for the spring planting season.

“The sheep have the dual purpose of removing the crops by eating them, and then fertilizing the soil with their droppings,” garden manager Nicholas Smaldone said.

The students use the community garden to grow produce and herbs. All the produce that is grown is donated to Miriam's Kitchen, a non-profit focused on ending homelessness, and people in need.

Although the sheep do not always do a perfect job of mowing lawns, they are a great way to support sustainability and are great for small yards and grassy areas, said Cory Suter, owner of

“When cute sheep show up, and lambs, it really attracts a crowd and gets people excited about more sustainable ways to care for land,” Suter said.

In addition to trimming the lawn, the sheep also experience benefits from the variety of grass and flowers they eat. The sheep only eat untreated lawns and get full after about two hours of eating.

“As they’re going around, they eat a little of this, a little of that, and after two hours they’ve done a lot and a lot of things are gone,” Suter said.

This is the first time animals have been brought in to help out with the garden. Around 200 students and volunteers help plant and harvest produce during the school year.

The garden began in 2009.

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