Save the Dandelions

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 10.14.38 AMSociety evolves, albeit sometimes slowly.  I am 49 years old.  There are things happening now that I would not have predicted when I was young.  Aside from the fact that gasoline is unleaded, DDT is banned, and there is more truth in advertising (cigarettes were once advertised as being good for us), we have a black President.  Gays can marry.  Whole Foods and Tesla are darlings of Wall Street.  When I fly towards the west or go hiking in Maine, I see huge wind farms.  Healthcare is finally available to all.

At the beginning of all of these movements are a select few of deemed “radicals,” people with courage and foresight to challenge the status quo.  I feel like I’ve been surrounded by such people my entire life.  My parents thought rather radically and associated with like-minded people.

I’ve been sensing an upswell of radical opposition to, of all things, lawns.  I blogged about the topic a couple of years ago here and here.

When hurricane Isabel roared through the DC region back in 2003, over a dozen large trees fell in my wooded yard.  The lot was already somewhat of a mess with invasive English ivy smothering everything.  The previous owners planted bramble everywhere.

I had a minuscule lawn and 2 kids with 1 on the way.  I decided it was time to clear it all out (leaving the existing trees) and put down grass seed to hold the ground.  In the spring we spread seed and hay and I naively called a lawn care company to get my lawn started.  I signed a contract for a year’s service.  Sometime in June, after a few “applications” and some rainfall, I walked out onto my patio and slipped and fell.  There was algae growing everywhere.  My grass was turning dark green.

Blog_lawn_water1I realized then that I’d been paying for a plethora of unneeded chemical applications that were hurting the environment.  I never put anything on my lawn ever again, and I started to take notice of the industry and our assumptions about lawns in general.  I cringe when I see those little signs on yards telling us that’s Blog_lawn_chemicals2chemicals have been applied.

Maybe lawns are important to so many because they’re seen as status symbols, similar to what Blog_lawn_Europ1seems like other affluent suburban anxieties over who drives the most luxurious car, who lives in the biggest house, where our kids go to college, what top sports league our kids play in, even what fancy breed of dog we walk.  Regardless, the world would be better off if certain industries were to go bankrupt.  I’m Blog_lawn_Scrutiny1adding lawn care to that list.

MOM’s is taking action this month as we launch our Save the Dandelions campaign to educate people about the impact of chemical lawns.  From March 15-23, we will collect any unwanted lawn chemicals from customers and safely Blog_lawn_car1dispose of them; we will be educating our customers about the negative environmental impacts of lawn chemicals; and we will launch an advertising campaign to shift public perception towards embracing imperfect, natural yards.  Save the Dandelions!

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6 Responses to Save the Dandelions

  1. Doug Percival says:

    Careful, Scott — some of your customers might get carried away, dig up their lawns and start growing their own organic produce instead of buying it at MOM’s!

  2. Kelly H says:

    Dandelions are awesome anyway! :) First of all, they’re pretty. Second of all, they’re good for you. You can eat the greens, make tea and even wine out of them. (My mom has a Pennsylvania Dutch cookbook from the sixties that actually has a recipe for dandelion wine.) I don’t know what else you can do with dandelions, but if you put nasty chemicals on your lawn there won’t be any! :( (If any survived, you wouldn’t be able to use them because they’d have chemicals on them!)

  3. Sky says:

    Thank you for bringing attention to this important issue!
    Every change started with a radical idea! The more we push, educate, and talk about it, the less radical it becomes. I cringe too in Spring and Fall- the yellow signs are everywhere and they are not harmless like dandelions.

    But look at Canada! A wave of providences have ban lawn pesticides – and yet, the lawn industry is doing just fine. There are still lawns to be mowed and alternative, safer programs to sell. Also, the Home Depot stores there have stop selling the toxic pesticides and change over to alternatives. Businesses will adapt and do just fine without toxic lawn pesticides. These Canadian families are protected from pesticide exposure in their communities. We SO deserve that too! Our children deserve that now! Not 20 years from now, when it’s too late for them!

    It is a scary thing to speak up against the masses or be different. We tend to use lawn pesticides because our neighbors are using it – neighborhood peer pressure. The HOA’s poison whole communities because the other HOA’s are doing it. It’s quite remarkably insane.

  4. Pingback: Gardening with kids in Northern VA

  5. Carol L. says:

    My Honeybees and I thank you Scott! Save the Dandelions is a campaign to Save the Honeybee – a much appreciated “twofer.”

  6. Meliss says:

    Thanks so much for speaking out on this issue and also taking action: I’ll be dropping off several bottles of herbicide that I “inherited” from the previous owner when we bought our home. And I’ll spread the word to my coworkers as well!

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