On any given weekend, you will find us at a ball field. Spring baseball and soccer season is in full swing. And if one of the kids isn’t playing a sport, you can find us playing, hanging out, or taking Max for a walk in a field or at the park.
Over 26 million kids and families play on sports fields and parks in the U.S. Of that, 65% have been sprayed with chemical cocktail of herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides to keep the grass green and weed free.
I’ve seen the lawn maintenance trucks at the fields and parks and know that the field wasn’t being treated organically. Truthfully, I thought, “But what can I do about it?” My kids want to play sports and I want them to be outside enjoying nature. So I’ve done what I could – making sure they wash their hands or shower after practice/games, keeping shoes outside, washing equipment before bringing it inside, etc.
Graphic credit: Stonyfield
But what I couldn’t control was the air. When a child breathes in air filled with herbicide-laden dust or vaporized herbicide, this inhaled dose is absorbed into the blood stream almost immediately, reaching all organs soon after. Pesticides like glyphosate that stick to the soil are especially likely to be inhaled when kids, playing on treated fields, kick up dust. Because kids are closer to the ground, compared to adults, they get a larger dose of chemicals.
I don’t like pesticides and chemicals in my food, why would I want it on the sports fields and parks my family enjoys everyday?
Last year, Stonyfield announced that it is helping to convert public parks and playing fields across the country to organic grounds management with their #PlayFree Initiative. They’ve been working in organic fields for their cows for over 35 years so they know a thing or two about how to get it done.
I’ve toured their fields in Vermont and can attest that their cows are very, very happy, much healthier and well cared for living the organic life.
The first ten cities selected to receive support in transitioning their parks to organic maintenance have successfully kicked off the process of employing organic pest management in designated parks and green spaces: South Portland, ME, Costa Mesa, CA, Burbank, CA, Tustin, CA, Salt Lake City, UT, Houston, TX, North Miami, FL, Hyattsville, MD, Portsmouth, NH and Dover, NH. Hopefully, this list continues to grow as communities see the benefits of organic maintenance.
Last Friday, my family and I got to attend a New Hampshire Fisher Cats game for a special announcement from Stonyfield co-founder and Chief Organic Optimist Gary Hirshberg. Over the next two years, Stonyfield will help to convert the field at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium to organic grounds management, making the Fisher Cats’ home field the first field to be organically managed in all of professional baseball.
Photo credit: Stonyfield Blog
I’m super excited about the #PlayFree Initiative! It’s a win-win situation for the communities. Hopefully, it will spark a movement for more communities to convert to organic field practices. To find out more information about changing your community click HERE. For tips on changing your own backyard, click HERE.
I think our kids, pets, community, and the earth deserves this step in the right direction.
How do you reduce pesticides in your daily life?
Is your community on the list of the #PlayFree Initiative?