Champaign County Grows Green Weekend

Starting October 17-19, local authorities & non-profits band together to create an infrastructure for the use of compost in turfgrass management.

Brown gold. That’s what Urbana local authorities & non-profits have dubbed natural compost and healthy soils. 

“Urbana supports the natural lawn care approach to reduce the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and instead use natural fertilizers and mulch from the local Landscape Recycling Center,” says the City of Urbana Sustainability & Resilience Officer, Scott Tess.

Next Thursday, October 17th, the City of Urbana will commence the County’s first compost topdressing program on the City Building’s organic south lawn.  Compost offers an alternative to synthetic lawn pesticides and fertilizers. For example, one golf course in Wanaukee, WI implemented a biannual compost topdressing program that replaced 100 percent of their synthetic fertilizer and 95 percent of their chemical herbicide use within three years. 

“Healthy, biodiverse and organic matter rich compost contributes significant benefits to flood control, toxics reduction, plant health and overall human well-being,” said Ryan Anderson, manager of the non-profit natural lawn care initiative Midwest Grows Green

Anderson will discuss these benefits on site at the Urbana City Building Thursday, October 17th, from noon to 1:30 pm during Champaign County Sustainability Network’s Compost Topdressing Lunch & Learn. During this event, the City of Urbana will perform a live demonstration of how they will use their newly purchased spreader to incorporate 1/8” of compost into the south lawn this fall.  The city will apply compost topdressing at the same rate again next spring and summer.  The Urbana Park District, also, plans to follow these compost topdressing plans for the management of the ball field at Canaday Park.    

“The Urbana Park District uses an integrated approach to pest management for its flower beds and sports fields. And we have a long history of promoting sustainability through our natural areas and our organic gardening program,” said Tim Bartlett, Urbana Park District Executive Director. “We encourage the use of natural control methods whenever possible and support growing that effort in Urbana.”

Later in the evening of October 17th, Urbana Park District will elaborate on natural lawn care principles alongside the City and MGG during the Natural Lawn Care Green Drinks from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at Broadway Food Hall.  

“Park Districts and homeowners alike can keep their lawns organic by increasing cultural controls of core aeration, overseeding and mowing high that builds the soil, turf and plant system at every step,” said Ryan Anderson.

Both the Lunch & Learn and the Green Drinks occur during Champaign County Grows Green Weekend (CCGG Weekend), October 17-19th. The Lunch & Learn features free lunch from Piato Café if you register at Meanwhile, RSVP for the Green Drinks at  If you can’t make the events Thursday, you can still meet MGG’s Ryan Anderson Saturday, October 19th during the Urbana Market at the Square and he will answer your lawn and garden questions.

Visit CCGG Weekend’s webpage (see or Facebook page (see to track the events and learn more about the natural lawn care approach. Finally, make an actionable commitment to reduce your own synthetic lawn pesticide and fertilizer use by taking the MGG pledge (visit

This weekend was made possible thanks to funds from the Lumpkin Family Foundation.  Other partners and supporters include Faith in Place and the Illinois Green Business Association.

About Midwest Grows Green

Midwest Grows Green is an initiative of the IPM Institute of North America, Inc. that accomplishes large scale behavior change by sharing pesticide and fertilizer reduction information at critical places where lawns influence our lives. The IPM Institute is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit started in 1998 that improves sustainability in agriculture and communities through market mechanisms based in Integrated Pest Management. 

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