Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Stonyfield and local partners lead the transition to organic.
Soon in Grand Rapids and East Grand Rapids, children can play free of synthetic pesticides at six organic parks.
Stonyfield Organic, the nation’s leading organic yogurt company, has teamed up with Midwest Grows Green, the Sierra Club Greater Grand Rapids and many other local organizations to help both the City of Grand Rapids and East Grand Rapids eliminate the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers on their fields. Stonyfield has donated $5,000 for the city of East Grand Rapids to use towards the transition of their parks as well as the in-kind technical resources of expert collaborators.
“We appreciate Stonyfield Organic’s support as we transition our traditional lawn care materials to organic in two of our parks,” said East Grand Rapids Mayor Amna Seibold. “We are continuously looking for ways to protect and preserve our community’s natural resources so this is a wonderful opportunity to learn new methods available.”
East Grand Rapids plans to test organic products and approaches over the next three years at John Collins Park & the soccer field at Manhattan Park. The non-profit natural lawn care initiative Midwest Grows Green (MGG) and Osborne Organics will provide technical support, as part of Stonyfield’s donation, for the implementation of the parks. Both MGG & East Grand Rapids will share some of the steps taken at the two parks on Saturday, September 21st during Stonyfield’s #PlayFree Field Day at John Collins Park from 1 to 4 pm.
“East Grand Rapids can keep their parks 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, the leader of MGG.
MGG received additional support to help the City of Grand Rapids implement organic lawn care at four parks of Heartside, Highland, Rasberry Field and Kensington.
“Grand Rapids Parks’ citizen-led and adopted strategic master plan is framed around our distinct environment, ecology and the proper care and stewardship of the City’s valued public open space,” said David Marquardt, the Director of the City of Grand Rapids Department of Parks & Recreation. “This grant opportunity allows us to take an important step toward more proper care and stewardship of our environment and values public parks and open spaces.”
Grand Rapids has followed a detailed natural lawn care management plan set by MGG and a soil fertility plan set by EarthWorks Turf for all four parks. MGG, EarthWorks & Grand Rapids will cover this detailed plan and provide a tour of Heartside Park during the FREE Organic Parks Lunch & Learn on Friday, September 20th from noon to 2 pm at the Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation building.
Both the Friday Lunch & Learn (register at bit.ly/GRGGlunch19) and the Stonyfield Field Day (more at bit.ly/GRGGfieldday) are feature events of Grand Rapids Grows Green Weekend (GRGG Weekend). GRGG Weekend lasts from September 19-21 and offers multiple free demonstrations of how the Grand Rapids region “Leads the Michigan Organic Transition”. Learn more about GRGG Weekend at bit.ly/GRGGwknd19 and attend the first event, West Michigan Environmental Action Council’s Green Drinks at City Built Brewing, Thursday September 19th from 5 to 7 pm.
About Stonyfield Organic
As the country’s leading organic yogurt maker, Stonyfield takes care with everything it puts into its products and everything it keeps out. By saying no to toxic persistent pesticides, artificial hormones, antibiotics and GMOs, Stonyfield has been saying yes to healthy food, healthy people, and a healthy planet for 35 years. Stonyfield, a Certified B-Corp, is also helping to protect and preserve the next generation of farmers and families through programs like its Direct Milk Supply and Wolfe’s Neck Organic Training Program as well as StonyFIELDS, a nationwide, multi-year initiative to help keep families free from toxic persistent pesticides in parks and playing fields across the country.
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.
About Sierra Club Greater Grand Rapids Chapter
The Sierra Club is the largest and oldest grassroots organization in the country, with a mission to explore, enjoy and protect the planet. Sierra Club Greater Grand Rapids and its natural lawn care grassroots initiative Growing Green Grand Rapids covers Kent and Ottawa county. Our members are active in various grassroots campaigns (local, statewide and national), to protect and preserve the environment.