When you need to clear thick brush or tackle masses of stubborn weeds, you can pull out the harsh chemicals, attack them with your brush knife … or rent a herd of goats.
That last option is becoming increasingly popular thanks to the ingenuity of Tammy Dunakin, founder and self-proclaimed chief goat wrangler at Rent-A-Ruminant LLC.
Unfulfilled at work?
Tammy founded her business after a career in emergency medicine left her feeling unfulfilled. She had some pet goats, noticed they looked bored … and decided to do something about it.
The goat-as-land-clearers idea has been catching on. Not only is Tammy making a decent living and franchising her business, she’s also built her flock almost entirely from goats she’s rescued.
By offering goats as an alternative to heavy machinery or noxious chemicals, she is helping to reduce the use of fossil fuels and the presence of toxins in our air, soil, and water.
And since her goats fertilize as they go, they also leave the soil in better shape than they found it.
As you might imagine, Tammy finds her work meaningful and enjoys running a business that promotes sustainability and the health of our planet.
She is happy to be making a living and a difference.
And our world needs many, many more businesses like Tammy’s.
Middle class malnutrition
We’ve got a lot of “middle class malnutrition” on our planet, in large part due to the centralization of agriculture. Crops have been bred for durability rather than flavor or nutrition, and they lose a lot of their vitamins and minerals during transport. People don’t want to eat them because they don’t taste good … and their bodies don’t crave them because they lack nutrition.
Then you have livestock, which have been bred and raised to produce unnatural quantities of eggs, milk—you name it—using unnatural feed in unnatural environments. The result, of course, is much less nutritious food.
For these reasons and more, our entire food system needs to be reimagined, redesigned, and rebuilt.
What’s the solution?
Making a living can be making a difference. Our food system is in a sorry state. The upside is that there are tons of opportunities for people like Tammy Dunakin, you, and me to create a living doing work we find meaningful.
If you’re not sure how to get started, you’ll want to check out my next video chapter of Grow: All True Wealth Comes From the Ground.
Then, leave me a comment. How do you earn money doing meaningful work? What advice would you give to people who want to make a living making a difference?
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Marjory Wildcraft is the founder of The Grow Network, which is a community of people focused on modern self-sufficient living. She has been featured by National Geographic as an expert in off-grid living, she hosted the Mother Earth News Online Homesteading Summit, and she is listed in Who’s Who in America for having inspired hundreds of thousands of backyard gardens. Marjory was the focus of an article that won Reuter’s Food Sustainability Media Award, and she recently authored The Grow System: The Essential Guide to Modern Self-Sufficient Living—From Growing Food to Making Medicine.
The use of victory gardens should be taught in junior colleges and 4H clubs. These types of gardens would help so many if we could make it easy to understand and help the homeowners. They used to develop vacant lots in the cities and have these types of gardens. There are many books like the backyard homestead that can help them but having a mentor come and help get one started would make the difference between success and failure. There are master gardeners in Texas and they could help train the local 4H groups and there could be incentives for people to actually start them.
I’ve joked with my husband a few times that we’re doing our lawn wrong because we’re still mowing!! LOL!
I’d love to see you add some examples of how retired people (with resources) can invest in the movement, like how to find and partner with young farmers.
(oops, commented before I listened all the way to the end). Ok – thanks for adding the bit on “Slow Money.”
Yes, Slow Money is a fantastic organization. I know several farmers who have benefited very much through thier 0% loans and other programs.
Getting people interested in gardening first takes getting them interested in eating veggies. This problem haunts me with thoughts of how to get people into a garden instead of fast food restaurants
harpiano – TASTE! that gets ’em every time. I volunteered at my daughters school and we had a garden for the kids (of course). A lot of the kids ate cereal for breakfast and a lunchable for lunch (ugh). It completely astonished me how they loved to eat the fresh lettuce, kale, broccolli that we grew. We had little cups of ranch dressing from them in the fridge and on recesses they went out to the garden to much.
I think that getting people educated about food and where the food they eat actually comes from is a vitally important aspect of reversing the state of our planet. I think that it is equally as important that the idea of the localization of food production needs to largely replace our present form of agriculture. But, as you mention, the supply chain, including production, transportation and distribution to available markets need to be addressed and are opportunities that need to be of a coordinated effort for it to be of any real and lasting value.