Growing Thriving Landscapes in Milwaukee

Midwest Grows Green’s Ryan Anderson provides a sneak peak at Milwaukee Grows Green Weekend and its theme “Growing Landscapes that Thrive”

In 2015, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization declared that we only have 60 years of harvests left.  Our world’s degrading soil largely causes this bleak outlook. Every minute we lose 30 soccer fields of soil due to intensive farming, rising urban populations, deforestation and climate change. 

Our efforts to optimize soils with synthetic pesticides and fertilizers since the Green Revolution in the 1960s likely harmed an already perfect ecosystem that feeds our plant life.  Researchers estimate that crops only obtained half of the fertilizers applied during the Green Revolution. The rest of the fertilizers leached or ran-off into other ecosystems or, worse, our waterways. We, also, lost pesticides to the environment causing many harms to us and other unintended species.

Despite these losses, our soils can regenerate and this work starts at home. Midwest Grows Green’s process based natural lawn care and organic gardening approaches rebuild the soil and plant system at every step.  These positive outcomes motivated the theme “Growing Landscapes that Thrive” for our upcoming Milwaukee Grows Green Weekend (MGG Weekend).  From May 2nd to May 5th, all three of our MGG Weekend events will demonstrate how to regenerate our urban soils and feed the soil microbiome.

First up, the Harold S. Vincent High School’s Ag Showcase on May 2nd will have University of Wisconsin soil biologist Dr. Doug Soldat on hand to demonstrate how he collects soil samples and uses this data to achieve a thriving lawn.  Dr. Soldat will partner with MGG and Vincent High School to manage turfgrass research plots that quantify the soil quality benefits achieved by natural lawn care of increased nutrients, balanced pH, improved water retention and more.  Vincent High School will, also, share the many other green infrastructure and farming features on its 90-acre campus during this unique event. 

The next day, MGG Weekend will help get the most out of your soil during its free “Benefits of natural Lawn Care” webinar at noon. Soil scientists estimate that every 1% of organic matter content added to your soil can increase its water holding capacity by 16,500 gallons per acre-foot. But do you know how to increase your landscape’s organic matter to reduce toxics, flooding and threats to turfgrass health?  EarthWorks Jack Higgins, soil scientist Vytas Pabedinskas and Denison University’s Grounds and Landscape Services Manager Kevin Mercer will cover the essentials.

Finally, MGG Weekend will celebrate the Pesticide-Free Klode Park by organizing a “Dandelion Pull” during the Green Day at the Bay Event on Saturday, May 4th.  Visit our table at this festival, compete for prizes and keep Klode organic and thriving!   

Our MGG Weekend events should provide a full overview of both organic gardening and/or natural lawn care. However, the MGG Pledge offers one more resource if you feel unprepared to transition to organic land care after this weekend. Each month we share the latest updates, information and resources regarding natural lawn care and organic gardening.  Thank you and I hope to see you in early May!