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Grassroots Action
December 2006 -January 2007
(Previous Actions)

Actions of the Month: Pass Organic Land Care Policies in Your Community and Send Your School and Parks Officials to Organic Land Care Basic Training

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Dear National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns activist,

Lawn season may be over in most parts of the country, but our Coalition has a lot of work to do this winter for pesticide-free lawns. This winter we have two very exciting initiatives to support you in promoting pesticide-free lawns, one to educate your local officials on organic land care, and one to help you pass local policies and pesticide-free zones in your community.

A growing number of communities across the country, concerned about pesticide impacts to public health, the environment, and wildlife, are taking actions that you can replicate in your own city or town. From the north shore of Massachusetts to San Diego, CA, municipalities are establishing pesticide-free parks, piloting organic playing fields, passing policies that restrict pesticides on municipal lands, or voluntarily for private land. As you will see, these actions are usually spearheaded by a local activist. To get inspired read our special Grassroots Action Supplement: Organic Land Care Policies and Pesticide-Free Zones Growing: Inspiring Stories from across the Country.

Join our Policy Work Group
If you would like to learn more about getting a pesticide-free zone, organic playing field, or an organic land care policy passed in your area, please join our Policy Work Group. We will be holding monthly conference calls in which you will hear from successful activists about how they got started, the steps they took, and what worked and what didn’t as they pursued their particular policy goal. We will examine a number of options that you can pursue, the content of different policies, discuss barriers, and help you map out a strategy.

If this sounds like the next step you would like to take in your pesticide activist work, please email info@beyondpesticides.org with a brief description of your community, the type of policy you are interested in, your availability for phone conferencing (day, evening, particular days), and your contact information.You are welcome to invite other interested activists to join you.

Invite Your Municipal Official or Transitioning Landscaper to an Organic Land Care Basic Training Online!
The market demand for organic land care and availability organic land care products is following the path of organic food into the mainstream. However, there is still a lack of understanding about what organic land care is, and many myths spoken about it being more expensive or impossible. As you will see from the Grassroots Action Supplement, this is simply not true.

To continue the strong trend towards pesticide-free land care, we need municipal officials and landscape professionals who are knowledgeable. Organic land care training opportunities are increasing in pockets of the country, but in general it is difficult for the interested turf manager to find the training and resources needed to get started on an organic land care program.

The National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns is pleased to announce our first online Organic Land Care Basic Training for Municipal Officials and Transitioning Landscapers. This three-part teleconference will explain the Simple Steps to beginning an organic turf program and will cover the basic concepts, methods, and materials you need to get started. The training is geared toward school and/or park and recreation officials. However landscapers interested in transitioning are more than welcome to attend.

The Program will be taught by Chip Osborne, a professional horticulturist with over 30 years experience and an expert on building and transitioning turf to organic care. See more about our trainer in the Training Announcement Letter below and at our registration site To register, please visit www.pesticidefreelawns.org/training.

We need you, our grassroots activists, to get the word out by sending the invitation letter (see below and Download materials), and the Grassroots Action Supplement to your town or city’s parks and recreation director, and the manager of your school district(s) grounds. After you send the letter, please organize others in your community to do the same, and follow up with a phone call and meeting if possible.

Thank you!


Date

Dear MyTown Parks and Recreation Director,
Dear MyTown School Grounds Manager,

I am interested in exploring how our town could manage our town-owned land organically, especially our play grounds and school playing fields. The number of pesticide-free parks and town ordinances restricting pesticide or fertilizer usage is growing, and so are the number of safer products available. I am writing to alert you to a training opportunity that can get us started on piloting a program.

The National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns is sponsoring an Organic Land Care Basic Training for Municipal Officials and Transitioning Landscapers. This three-part online training will explain the Simple Steps to beginning an organic turf program and will cover the basic concepts, methods, and materials you need to get started. The training is geared toward school or park and recreation officials. However, landscapers interested in transitioning are encouraged to attend.

The Program will be taught by Chip Osborne, a professional horticulturist with over 30 years experience and an expert on building and transitioning turf to organic care. He is accredited by Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) in organic land care, and has attended the University of Massachusetts Green School for turf management. He converted his retail greenhouse operation to an organic management plan, designed and constructed Marblehead’s Living Lawn Demonstration site, and, as the elected Chairman of the Town of Marblehead, Recreation, Parks & Forestry Commission, is currently implementing an Organic Turf Management Plan for the town’s public lands, including all athletic fields.

Chip lectures widely on natural turf management, both to homeowners and municipalities, and has addressed many audiences nationwide, including the National Turf Managers Association.

The cost of the training is only $45 for municipal officials and $95 for professional landscapers. This course will be offered in three 75-minute online sessions on February 28, March 5, and March 14, 2007 (12pm- 1:15pm eastern standard time).

To register visit www.pesticidefreelawns.org/training.

For questions, please call or email Eileen Gunn at (202) 543-5450 or info@beyondpesticides.org.

Sincerely,