Midwest Grows Green: Community Engagement

MPAC created the Midwest Grows Green Community Engagement program to help homeowners and other land managers understand the impacts of their practices and learn how to make them more sustainable.  We developed several resources to help concerned residents educate and engage their communities on natural lawn care. We work with community activists and organizers to create a campaign that encourages the adoption of natural lawn care practices to reduce the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.  With community input, MPAC develops customized resources and events promoting natural lawn care that reflect specific community concerns.

Why is it important to engage your community on natural lawn care?

As communities expand, land-use turns into lawns. Unfortunately, the use of synthetic lawn care products leads to the pollution of our waterways through runoff and negative impacts on the health of people, pets, and wildlife. Many people do not realize that homeowners apply up to 10 times more chemical pesticides to lawn turf per acre than farmers use on crops. In fact, lawn care pesticides are the pesticides most often detected in urban watersheds. This is because polluted runoff from lawns flow into storm water drains which bypass water treatment facilities and empty out directly into rivers, lakes, and streams. In addition, climate change will likely magnify these negative impacts in the Midwest, with longer growing seasons prompting the use of more lawn care products and increasing storm frequency and intensity resulting in more flooding and water runoff.

pesticide_lawn_croppedIn addition to water quality issues, conventional lawn care creates many environmental stressors and health impacts. For example:

    • Fifty percent of water used for lawns is wasted, and demand for water is expected to increase with growing population and greater drought occurrences.
    • Of the 30 pesticides most commonly used on lawns and landscapes, 16 are toxic to birds, 24 are toxic to fish and other aquatic organisms, 11 are toxic to bees, and 11 are endocrine disruptors.
    • Research has linked pesticides to cancer, asthma, birth defects and neurological, behavioral, reproductive, hormonal, and immune system disorders in humans. Infants and children are most vulnerable to the health risks associated with pesticide use.

Resources

Here are some examples of resources which MPAC has created for community engagement:

Take the MGG Pledge!

Join our network of engaged citizen activists prepared to eliminate synthetic chemical use on your own lawn/garden and at all locations where children, pets, and wildlife live and play! Your commitment today gives you access to natural lawn care support through our monthly e-newsletter and adds your name to the larger MGG effort as we recruit more pesticide-free parks, point-of-purchase retailers and pledges.  We’ll send you a sign for any donation of $10+.

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Click to take the Pledge!

Tips on Keeping our Yards Green & Waters Clean

This natural lawn care pamphlet can be customized for community needs. It gives tips on how to reduce water pollution while maintaining beautiful outdoor spaces that are safe for people and pets to enjoy.

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Click to view the pamphlet.

For more information about this and other MGG programs, contact Ryan Anderson at randerson@pesticideaction.org and “Midwest Grows Green” as the subject.  Or, call us at (773) 878-7378.

Return to the Midwest Grows Green homepage to learn more about how reducing the use of pesticides by adopting natural lawn care can benefit the health of your community and the environment.