(Beyond Pesticides, March 16, 2007) In response to a growing demand for organic land care, Beyond Pesticides, in conjunction with its partners in the National Coalition for Pesticide Free Lawns released a new spring lawn care factsheet emphasizing a new approach to understanding non-chemical lawn care — Read Your “Weeds” — A Simple Guide to Creating a Healthy Lawn.
This easy to read guide takes the mystery out of organic lawn care and makes transitioning a chemical lawn to a natural lawn fun. It guides homeowners in reading their weeds to interpret what is going on in their lawn. Simple practices like mowing too low, using synthetic-based fertilizers, over watering, or using pesticides contributes to poor soil health and invites weeds. It also explains some of the benefits of so-called weeds, such as dandelions’ ability to pull nutrients from its deep roots to the surface for grass to use. The guide provides a great way to involve kids in learning about protecting the environment.
“We are seeing a major interest in and shift toward organic land care as the general public learns how detrimental pesticides are to their lawn, health, and the environment. This factsheet and our recent Basic Organic Land Care Training have generated more interest and feedback than anything we have released,” says Eileen Gunn, project director for Beyond Pesticides.
The growing demand for organic land care is coming from all sectors: homeowners, municipal park managers, and business professionals alike. A 2005 survey of 2,000 adults by the Natural Marketing Institute found 20 percent of consumers had bought some kind of environmentally friendly lawn-and-garden product. Organic land care is also a major business opportunity for product manufacturers and businesses. According to CNN, market researchers Freedonia Group estimates a 10 percent annual growth for the organic fertilizer market, twice the projected growth for all lawn and garden goods.
In Canada, the market shift is happening much more rapidly due to widespread bans on the aesthetic use of pesticides and a less powerful chemical industry lobby. According to Agriculture Canada, the organic sector is a small but rapidly growing sector of the lawn and landscape industry. Canada’s non-profit trade association, Organic Landscape Alliance, reports upwards of 30% growth in business over the past year and new members are continuously joining the association.
According to Scripps News, even Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, a major manufacturer of chemical lawn care products, is making changes in how they convey their message and products to consumers worldwide. Rich Martinez, their chief environmental officer, claims a strengthened focus of the company on environmental stewardship. There are also regional efforts underway to reformulate fertilizer products to reduce nutrient loading to polluted coastal environments.
TAKE ACTION: Get involved in promoting organic land care by distributing this factsheet in your community and to your local media outlets. You can also display our pesticide-free zone sign proudly on your lawn.