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Midwest Grows Green

Three programs, one brand, one goal.

Midwest Grows Green (MGG) represents all of MPAC’s community-based lawn and landscape care initiatives, which are identified by our distinctive orange MGG stamp and unified by a single message – protect people, pets and the environment by practicing natural lawn care. Three distinct programs (point-of-purchase, pesticide-free parks, and community engagement) comprise MGG, which communities can adopt individually or in any combination. We designed MGG to educate the community on natural lawn care in order to reduce the amount of synthetic herbicides, insecticides, and fertilizers used. Lawn and gardening chemicals can harm people, pets, wildlife, and waterways. By presenting safer alternative practices and products, Midwest Grows Green aims to reduce the use and harmful effects of outdoor pesticides.

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Point-of-Purchase Program

This partnership with local retailers connects homeowners to eco-friendly products at the point-of-purchase to empower them to reduce their use of harmful pesticides. Learn More

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Pesticide-Free Parks

Bring a pesticide-free park to your community to protect the environment and create safer places for people and pets to play. Learn More

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Community Engagement

MPAC can help you engage your community on natural lawn care practices to keep your yards beautiful without the use of harmful pesticides. Learn More

Why are pesticides and artificial fertilizers harmful?

Many commonly-used pesticides are harmful to people and the environment. Here are some facts about the harmful effects of commonly-sold products:

Boy w Dog and Sprinkler [resized,cropped]1. Human Health:  Research has linked insecticides, herbicides, and other pesticides to cancer, as well as asthma, birth defects, and neurological, behavioral, reproductive, hormonal, and immune system disorders. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies roughly 40 chemicals serving as active ingredients in household pesticides as “known, probable, or possible human carcinogens.”

2. Water: A U.S. Geological Survey report found pesticides in 96% of all fish, 100% of all surface waters, and 33% of major aquifers studied. We know that lawns and gardens contribute to this widespread pollution as urban watersheds have higher rates of pesticide contamination than any other type of watershed, including agricultural. Keeping pesticides out of our waterways is important as they degrade water quality. A more recent USGS study found evidence of the insecticide neonicotinoid, commonly associated with the reduction in honey bee populations, in over 50% of streams tested.

Drains to Lake grate3. Aquatic life: Conventional synthetic and fast-release fertilizers quickly wash into waterways, degrading water quality and creating “dead zones” by promoting excessive growth of aquatic vegetation, which steals the oxygen in the water from other organisms.

4. Wildlife:  Pesticides are toxic chemicals designed to kill. The killing power of most of these toxins is not specific and will often kill or injure non-target species. Birds, amphibians, and beneficial pollinators such as honey bees are affected. Dozens of studies have linked the use of pesticides such as neonicotinoids to declining bee populations, which pollinate many essential food crops.

5. Children: A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics raised concerns about the link between pesticide exposure and childhood cancer, impaired neurological development, asthma, and endocrine disruption. The Academy stated that “the most comprehensive reviews of the existing literature implicate an association of pesticides with leukemia and brain tumors.” Studies also suggest that ADHD and other neurological disorders may be related to a disruption in biological systems caused by some pesticides.

What are eco-friendly alternatives?

Natural lawn care is a method of maintenance designed to build up the health of your lawn—making it naturally more resistant to weeds, insects, and diseases—without the use of synthetic chemicals or fertilizers. It is an alternative to conventional practices which depend on the application of synthetic chemicals, often in much larger quantities than needed. The excess is often washed away as runoff into water sources or tracked indoors by people or pets.

The basics of natural lawn care include:1620 x 1080 testing-soil-quality-soil-pH-values1

  1. Mowing high to shade out weeds.
  2. Choosing the right species with characteristics designed to adapt to the current climate and conditions of the planting area.
  3. Using natural fertilizers for slower nutrient release, which feeds the soil and helps prevent runoff.
  4. Watering correctly at 1 inch per week to encourage strong deep roots and discourages pests.

MPAC defines “eco-friendly products” as organic, non-synthetic, or least-toxic alternatives to conventional lawn care products. These products are healthier for people, pets, and the environment. Unlike many conventional lawn care products, they are free of harmful substances such as known carcinogens, reproductive or developmental toxins, and endocrine disruptors which compromise human health. They are also free of ingredients found in conventional products that degrade water quality and are highly toxic to birds, fish, wildlife, and bees. Eco-friendly alternative products, along with sustainable lawn and landscape management practices, can be incorporated as integral parts of natural lawn care.  Our Eco-Friendly Lawn Care Catalog lists eco-friendly lawn products.

For more information on each Midwest Grows Green program, see: Community Engagement, Pesticide-Free Parks, and Point-of-Purchase Retailer Program

Take the Pledge to add your name to our community of engaged citizen activists and help further natural lawn care practices at your home, in your community, and Midwest-wide.

Additional Resources

Guide to Growing an Environmentally-Friendly Lawn and Garden: Use this comprehensive guide to learn how to incorporate natural lawn care practices in your own lawn and garden. Find out how natural lawn care can reduce your contribution to climate change and water pollution, help your lawn and garden adapt to a changing environment, and produce beautiful outdoor spaces.

More: Natural Lawn Care for Homeowners, Natural Lawn Care CalendarPets and Pesticides, Read Your Weeds, Products for Your Natural Lawn, Midwest Natural Lawn Care Companies