The benefits of choosing an organic lifestyle extend beyond your diet or health. Beyond Pesticides helps communities convert parks and public lands to organic land management. Here are some reasons why Beyond Pesticides believes in building organic communities:
Why Go organic?
- Health and safety: Organic foods and parks are free of harmful pesticides, fossil fuel-based substances and toxic chemicals, making them safer and healthier for all ages. Visit Beyond Pesticide’s 40 Lawn and Landscape Chemicals page to learn more about the health impacts of pesticides in communities.
- Environmental stewardship: Choosing organic parks and produce supports practices that protect pollinators, improve soil health, increase biodiversity, and reduce toxic runoff into water bodies. Learn more about how to protect pollinators in your community by reading BEE Protection.
- Trust and transparencyy: The USDA Certified Organic label ensures strict standards and regulations for organic products, providing trust and transparency to consumers around the world. We provide stewardship of parks that use organic land management. Visit Beyond Pesticide’s literature called Save Our Organic to learn more about the power of the organic label and use the Keeping Organic Strong page to keep USDA accountable to the principles and values in the Organic Food Production Act.
- Communities only: Supporting organic farming practices can benefit local communities and economies, as well as promoting responsible animal care and fair working conditions. Organic gardens are the ethical choice to promote environmental justice. The Black Institute’s “Poison Parks” report highlights New York City’s past reliance on glyphosate-based herbicides and that people from communities of color, including landscapers, bear the brunt of the impact of this toxic chemical.
- Climate resilience: Organic farming often shows better performance during periods of drought and difficult environmental conditions. Irrigation needs are very site specific and soil type affects drainage. Once established, the deep root system resulting from organic land management requires less water and organic soil management draws down atmospheric carbon, contributing to efforts to reduce the harmful effects of carbon on the climate.
how To go organic?
Each person’s organic journey is unique, with some emphasizing organic choices in their diet, garden care, or community involvement. If you are interested in fostering an organic community, one impactful step is to create an organic garden in your neighborhood. Be an advocate for organic gardening!
Fall is the best time to transition to organic land management, focusing on healthy soil and proper maintenance practices. Healthy soil leads to weeds and pest-resistant grass. Switching from chemical-based lawns may require extra effort and attention to timing, but organic care saves resources and ensures safety for everyone. Here are some steps you can take to make your garden or park organic:
- Mow high and keep sharp Mowing with a dull blade makes your lawn susceptible to disease, and mowing too close lets sunlight in on weeds, so be sure to sharpen your mower blades frequently. For the last and first cutting, cut to 2 inches to prevent fungal problems. For the rest of the year, keep it at 3-3.5 inches to shade out weeds and promote deep, drought-tolerant roots.
- Ventilation – If the lawn is hard, compact, full of weeds or bare spots, aerate it to help air, water and fertilizer enter the soil. If you cannot easily stick the screwdriver into the soil, it means it is too compact. Having a lawn aerator will be especially helpful. Once you have a healthy, well-established lawn, the worms and birds pecking at your soil will aerate it for free!
- Fertilization without fossil fuels – Fertilization in early autumn ensures good growth and root development of the grass. Nitrogen, the most abundant nutrient in lawn fertilizers, promotes color and growth. Adding too much nitrogen, or quick-release synthetic petrochemical (fossil fuel-based) fertilizers, will result in faster growth and the need for more mowing. Too much nitrogen can weaken turf, change pH, and promote the buildup of diseases, insects, and thatch. If applied too late, nutrients can leach directly into nearby surface waters. Be aware of local phosphorus or nitrogen loading concerns. Use the safest fertilizers e.g
- Grass clippings Contains 58% more nitrogen added from fertilizers, improves soil conditions, prevents disease, and reduces thatch and crabgrass. So, leave the clippings on the lawn.
- Compost and compost tea It is an ideal soil amendment, adding much-needed organic content to the soil and inhibiting many lawn pathogens. In the fall and spring, preferably after aeration, spread a 1/4-inch layer of compost over your lawn. Compost tea and worm castings are also great additions. Learn more from the Beyond Pesticides fact sheet, Fertilizer is the key to successful plant management.
- Supervise the correct grass seed – Again, fall is the best time to plant grass. Grass cultivars vary widely in their resistance to certain pests, tolerance to climate conditions, growth habits and appearance. Indoor grass seeds provide natural protection against certain insects and fungal diseases – major benefits of managing your lawn organically. Your local nursery will know the best seeds for the area. Check for weed seed content and the absence of any pesticide coatings.
- Soil analysis It is highly recommended to determine your specific soil needs. Contact your university extension service to find out how to take and submit a soil sample. In addition to nutrients and pH, request an organic content analysis, and ask for organic care recommendations. The ideal pH should be between 6.5-7.0, and the organic content should be 5% or higher. Soil test results will ensure that only the required materials are used. is reading Maintaining a delicate balance: Eliminate phosphorus pollution through organic soil management For in-depth information about the problem of fertilizer contamination, and how to apply fertilizer properly.
- Develop your tolerance – Many plants that are considered weeds in the lawn have beneficial qualities. to learn Read “Weeds.” What they say about the conditions of your soil. Monocrops do not grow in nature and diversity is a good thing. See more information on our website Less Toxic Weed Control Fact Sheet.
- Be an advocate for organic parks – Send Municipal Parks Department links to our fact sheets at Create new lawns and landscaping And Maintain sustainable lawns and landscapes. Or print it out and take it to the parks director. For more support from Beyond Pesticides, sign up to become an organic garden advocate!
There’s a lot in there Lawns and landscaping On the Beyond Pesticides website. For more information about becoming an advocate for organic gardens, see Gardens for a sustainable future And Tools for change.
Take Action: In addition to preparing your lawns and landscapes, tell your mayor or county executive to transition your parks and lands to organic management practices!
All unattributed positions and opinions in this article are the positions and opinions of Beyond Pesticides.
source: FAQ Gardening for a Sustainable Future Creating New Lawns and Landscapes It’s the Season to Transform Lawns and Landscapes Organic for Municipalities, Schools and Homes