Pesticide Free Neighborhood Update

From the Overlook Views Newsletter:

Pesticide Free Neighborhood Update

by Mulysa Melco

Over 300 households have taken the Healthy Lawn and Garden pledge, bringing Overlook closer to becoming Portland’s first pesticide free neighborhood.

A few teams of neighbors have started knocking on doors to get the word out about the project and offer free natural gardening resources. Some neighbors pledging report being chemical-free since they moved to neighborhood decades ago. Others are interested in moving away from chemical use and want more information. Some mention that that they feel supported knowing that others on their block are likewise opting for a healthier environment (and that they won’t be judged for a few dandelions!).

Wherever you are at with your yard, consider checking out Metro’s natural gardening resources such as ‘Natural Gardening’ and the ‘Grow Smart, Grow Safe’ guide that ranks garden products to help you choose the least toxic solution. They are available at www.oregonmetro.gov/garden and at Sustainable Overlook events.

Sustainable Overlook has a new website where you can pledge to reduce or quit pesticide use, get a free ladybug yard sign, connect with natural gardening resources and learn more about the project. Check out our press page to see an update about the project on Channel 8 news and read about our other recent neighborhood sustainability efforts. If you’d like to get involved email www.sustainableoverlook.org

10 Reasons to go Pesticide* Free

Better health for everyone! Yard and garden chemicals are linked to increased cancer risk and a host of other illnesses. Children, babies and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to toxin exposure, even in minute quantities.

Your garden will be happier. Without toxic chemicals, and with natural gardening practices like composting, the soil life and critters in your yard will create a more balanced ecosystem and that makes for stronger, more resilient plants.

Food safety. One of the many benefits of growing your own food organically is feeling confident that what you’re eating is not contaminated with pesticides.

Lower your carbon footprint. Pesticides and synthetic fertilizers are petro-chemical based, so when you avoid them, you are using fewer fossil fuels.

Take good care of our pets. Dogs and cats are at risk from lawn and garden chemicals for some of the same reasons kids are – they are low to the ground, they touch and mouth everything and spend a lot of time outdoors. Pets’ risks of cancer and other health problems increase when they are exposed to lawn chemicals.

Protect wildlife and save the bees! Songbirds, raptors, butterflies and our salmon population are threatened by pesticide use. Bees and other pollinators that we depend on for our food supply are under particular threat from neonic insecticides, common ‘all-in-one’ rose and shrub products.

Keep our water clean. Chemicals don’t stay put – they run off into waterways and soak into ground water. By avoiding them we can be good stewards of our drinking water, rivers and streams.

Save money and time. Natural gardening techniques tend to be much cheaper than buying products or hiring a chemical service, plus they require less labor in the long run.

Keep it local. Use your dollars to support local, green businesses, not big chemical corporations.

Practice peace. The toxic ingredients in many garden products fight nature rather than work with it. Fostering natural balance in your yard is good for your health and spirit and is a kindness to your neighbors.

*Pesticide refers to insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and other chemicals.

See our wwww.sustainableoverlook.org for references, resources and ways YOU can help!

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