Goats in the garden event aims to teach the public about gardening

JOPLIN, Mo. –Saturday’s sunshine meant good conditions for being outside and even better conditions for gardening. The community gardens at Joplin Empire Market were open today. Master gardener, Eric Osen says the goal of the garden is to make the activity more accessible to anyone.

“People learn new things, enjoy gardening, have success gardening”  

Originally, Eric was just going to work out in the garden. while he wanted to teach people about the community garden beds–a place where anyone can give planting a try, he worried about attendance.

“I had an event in, I believe it was November, it was putting the garden to bed, and we had all sorts of information about soil, testing, and different things and i had one person show up because I didn’t have the hook, to be honest.”

He wanted to bring more people in and used his goats to draw people into the garden.

“Anytime you’re in a public event, it’s handy to have a hook to get people to stop, and listen to you for a minute, and so while we’re talking about goats, then I have the opportunity to mention the garden.” 

So he reached out to Joplin’s Empire market and set up the Goats in the garden event, and to his surprise drew in a pretty big crowd.

“I said ‘hey I’m gonna be out in the garden and I’m gonna bring some baby goats’, just hoping to drive a little bit of traffic. I had no idea it would be this popular.” 

goats attracted people like Jan Cortez, a huge animal lover.

“Had to come, you can see why” she said.

She likes the goats especially due to their friendliness.

“They’re just so friendly like you don’t even have to get used to a certain goat, you just pick them up, and then they’re your friend for life.”

She says having the goats was a great way to get more people to learn about the community gardens, 

“Oh I love it, it’s a great draw, with all the things they offer in the farmer’s market. everything about it is just fun, it’s a great easy free event, you can do on Saturdays, gets you out of the house especially now, it’s just a great place to go.”  

The event drew in people of all ages, and while some may have shown up for just the goats, they walked away with new gardening knowledge.