Events, News

I Spy Green!

Retailers across Greater Chicago share eco-friendly lawn & garden product information Sunday, May 6th.

MPAC’s Ryan Anderson hands off the MGG Retailer Guide to participating retailer Pioneer Garden & Feed

Enter in any one of 21 Midwest Grows Green (MGG) hardware and garden stores on Chicago Grows Green (CGG) Retailer Day, Sunday, May 6th and you will find the products and tools needed to manage your lawn and garden with limited environmental and health impact.

“For many, management of lawns starts at the point-of-purchase,” said Ruth Kerzee, Executive Director of the environmental non-profit Midwest Pesticide Action Center (MPAC). “Natural lawn care products not only benefit the environment, but may provide essential nutrients and organic matter for healthy soil and turf growth that synthetic chemicals do not.”

Natural lawn and garden care products of natural pesticides, organic fertilizers, and more line the shelves of stores across Greater Chicago. MPAC’s MGG initiative points these products out to customers through distinctive green shelf tags (see image below).

“Most consumers base their decisions on the cost and convenience of lawn and garden products, as opposed to whether or not the products are needed, sustainably sourced, and friendly to public health and the environment,” said Kerzee. “The presence of MGG staff and volunteers, May 6th, redefines convenience by giving customers real time information on natural lawn and garden care.”

MGG Retailer Day participants and partners such as the Kane County Healthy Places Coalition (KCHPC) hope to raise awareness of the environmental and health effects associated with widespread synthetic lawn and fertilizer use in Greater Chicago communities and communicate to residents that tools, products, and resources exist to reduce these risks.

“Pesticide risks are of high concern for our communities in Kane County, particularly for our children who are still developing and exhibit behaviors, such as putting grass in their mouths, that make them susceptible to exposure,” said Theresa Heaton, Director of Health Promotion for Kane County.

Of the 30 most used lawn pesticides, studies have linked 13 to probable or possible carcinogens, 13 to birth defects, 21 to reproductive effects, 15 to neurotoxins, and 26 to liver and kidney damage. A healthy, green lawn, however, does not require these products and the associated health and environmental risks if lawn managers pay attention to grass health and needs.

“MPAC advocates for a natural lawn care approach that stresses and addresses the root causes of weed and pest problems such as poor soil drainage, nutrient deficiency, or soil compaction, as opposed to the symptoms of just applying a weed or pest killing product,” Kerzee said.

On May 6th, MGG Retailer Day volunteers will share natural lawn care and organic gardening brochures, fact sheets, and insights at participating stores of ­Crafty Beaver Home Center (Central St, Chicago), Christy Webber Farm & Garden, Seguin Gardens & Gifts, John Millen Hardware, Geneva Ace Hardware, and Ziegler Ace Hardware in Elgin, East Elgin, and Carpentersville. Find a participating store and follow MGG Retailer Day updates on the Facebook Page (see or on MPAC’s website (see

Want to learn more? MPAC hosts natural lawn care events across the region for Chicago Grows Green Week, May 11th to May 19th (see The week includes a webinar on composting for sports fields and a sale, Saturday, May 19th, of compost tea made by Dig Right In Landscaping Inc. to jump-start your lawn (see

People across Greater Chicago can receive up-to-date natural lawn care and organic gardening tips by taking the MGG Pledge to reduce their own synthetic lawn pesticide and fertilizer use at Every commitment helps make our outdoor spaces healthier for our children, pets, and wildlife to live, learn, and play!



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