Organic Lawn Demo Projects, MA

ORGANIC LAWN DEMO PROJECT KICK-OFF EVENT TEACHES HOMEOWNERS ABOUT ORGANIC LAWN MAINTENANCE METHODS

By Kathy Litchfield, NOFA/Mass OLC Program Coordinator

Homeowners asked questions about crabgrass, grubs and thatch during the 90-minute Organic Lawn Demonstration Project Kick-Off Events, first held May 20th on the Stoneham Town Common’s Center Circle and then on June 5th at Sandy Pond in Ayer, MA. These events marked the successful first years of three-year grant funded projects where Stoneham and Ayer converted, and will now  maintain, about 10,000 sq. ft. of publicly used lawns, organically.

NOFA Accredited Organic Land Care Professional Michael Murray speaks to homeowners about organic lawn care, during the TURI-funded Organic Lawn Demonstration Kick-Off event held on May 20th, 2010 at the Stoneham Town Common's Center Circle. Stoneham will maintain its center circle organically through at least June of 2013. Photo by Kathy Litchfield.

Funded by the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) of the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, the project is coordinated by the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)/Massachusetts Chapter, Inc. and partners NOFA Accredited Organic Land Care Professional Michael Murray of Organic Soil Solutions, Inc. in Woburn, with Town of Stoneham groundskeeper Rick Arzillo and deputy DPW director Larry Brophy; and NOFA AOLCP John Coppinger of The Coppinger Company Inc. of No. Chelmsford, with Ayer Parks Supervisor Jeff Thomas.

NOFA/Mass Organic Land Care Program Coordinator Kathy Litchfield talks with homeowners during the TURI-funded Organic Lawn Demonstration Kick-Off event held June 5th, 2010 at Sandy Pond Recreation Area in Ayer, MA. Ayer has committed to maintaining these lawns, adjacent to the town's swimming beach, organically through at least June of 2013. Photo by Ivan Ussach.

The Towns of Stoneham and Ayer have committed to maintaining these lawns organically through at least June of 2013. Now that the first year of the grant is complete, Murray and Coppinger will provide volunteer assistance.

The TURI Community Program strives to help organizations raise awareness of the hazards of toxic chemical use and introduce safer alternatives within their neighborhoods. The NOFA Organic Land Care Program offers education to professionals and homeowners, with the mission of reducing and eliminating the use of toxic and synthetic chemicals in landscaping.

The Organic Lawn Demonstration Project kick-off events were successes, featuring speeches by all parties involved in each town, and presentations by Murray and Coppinger about organic lawns geared to homeowners attending the events. Free organic refreshments, seed planting into organic soil, colorful displays and posters made by local Girl Scouts highlighted the events. A special homeowner-geared brochure was distributed and TURI and NOFA/Mass offered informative literature.

Special thanks to everyone involved who helped make these events successful and fun!

    For more information on these projects, contact Kathy Litchfield, NOFA/Mass Organic Land Care Program Coordinator, at (413) 773-3830 or Kathy@nofamass.org.

For more info on organic lawns and landscaping, visit NOFA Organic Land Care: www.organiclandcare.net

NOFA/Mass: www.nofamass.org

TURI: www.turi.org