Film highlights the human health risks resulting from our desire for “perfect” athletic fields. Find a PDF of this press release at bit.ly/GroundWar21PR
“My dad was a health nut,” Nisker recalled. “The great outdoors was his playground. He was vibrant and active. His death was a shock.”
The fit outdoorsman that taught skiing into the age of 80 passed away from non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Nisker searched for answers to the unexpected death of his father in his documentary Ground War.
“Cancer takes too many of us,” Nisker said. “Can it be blamed on bad luck and bad genes? Or something else?”
The film uncovers evidence linking his father’s cancer to a golf course that applied toxic herbicides and pesticides. This course and many other sports fields spray products restricted or not available for public consumption. 65 percent of natural grass sporting fields receive pesticide applications.
“Our high use of pesticides has far-reaching effects for our children, pets, water quality and pollinators,” Ryan Anderson of Midwest Grows Green (MGG) explained. “We need to ask if these risks are worth it to kill a dandelion that contributes great value to our ecosystems.”
Studies have linked glyphosate and 2,4-D, the herbicides most frequently used on sporting fields, to various neurological, immune, reproductive, hormonal and behavioral disorders. Bayer just announced that it will stop domestic lawn and garden sales of its glyphosate product Roundup in response to recent litigation risks. The company has lost multiple multi-million dollar lawsuits since the International Association for the Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogen in 2015.
MGG argues that we can manage turfgrass and landscapes without glyphosate or 2,4-D. Both the City of Grand Rapids and City of East Grand Rapids manage pesticide-free parks of Highland, Kensington, Ted Rasberry Field, Heartside, John Collins and the Manhattan soccer field.
Anderson elaborated, “East Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids keep their parks pesticide-free by increasing cultural controls of core aeration, overseeding and mowing high that builds the soil, turf and plant system at every step.”
To share more pesticide reduction strategies, MGG and Sierra Club Greater Grand Rapids grassroots movement Growing Green invites Kent County residents to a public viewing of Ground War on Thursday, September 9, 2021 from 6:30 to 9:30 pm at City Built Brewing. The screening sponsored by Stonyfield Organic and Earthworks Turf will include beer, finger food and a panel discussion on natural lawn care progress in the Grand Rapids region. RSVP today at bit.ly/GroundWar21.
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 educates and empowers citizens to take sustainable landscaping action that reduces harmful runoff into our waterways, protects the health of our most vulnerable citizens and reduces negative impacts of pesticides on non-target species such as pollinators. 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.