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Chicago Grows Green

To help combat climate change Safer Pest Control Project is launching a new program called Chicago Grows Green. 
Chicago Grows Green is an educational program that provides the information you will need to grow in a way that reduces your contribution to climate change, helps your lawn and garden adapt to an already changing environment, and produces beautiful outdoor spaces. Together, by making better decisions on how we maintain our outdoor spaces, we will have a big impact on the health of the environment and our communities. Take action to combat climate change in your backyard by following these five steps:

  1. Fertilize Organically
  2. Grow Chemical Free
  3. Water Smartly
  4. Choose Native Plants
  5. Use Climate-Friendly Tools

For more information, download our newest resource, “
Chicago Grows Green - A Guide to Growing a Climate-Friendly Lawn & Garden.”

Through the Chicago Grows Green program, Safer Pest Control Project is also working with local hardware and lawn and garden stores to make information on using sustainable lawn and garden products and practices available in stores. By participating in this program, these stores are demonstrating their commitment to improving their communities. Click
here for a map of participating stores.  



Activist's Toolkit now available

Toolkit Available to Educate and Support Sustainable Landscape and Lawn Care Activists

Activists Toolkit

Safer Pest Control Project, with funding from Patagonia, has released a new resource that will inspire and educate current and future natural lawn care and sustainable landscape activists. The Activist’s Toolkit is aimed for those who want to change how their neighbors, schools, or cities care for their lawns and landscapes, and need advice about how to actually do it!

The Toolkit features information on the basics of natural lawn care, health benefits of switching from conventional to natural lawn care, as well as practical tools and example documents to use during a campaign.

Download your free copy of the Activist’s Toolkit and learn how to promote sustainable lawn and landscape care in your community. The toolkit can be found here.

Executive Director, Rachel Rosenberg, featured in Chicago Tribune article “Dealing with the Drought”

Check out the article from the July 8th Chicago Tribune that addresses how to care for lawns in a drought. Rachel Rosenberg gives advice on watering and mowing in drought conditions. She was also featured in a June 2011 article highlighting her own natural lawn care practices. Natural lawns do better in a drought! 


New Resource for Eco-Landscaping

Check out this new resource for implementing eco-landscaping. This guide, published by the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC), will be helpful to homeowners, businesses, schools, and municipalities that are interested in sustainable lawn care and landscaping.


A Bee-Friendly Garden is a Pesticide-Free Garden

Did you know that there are over 500 species of native bees in Illinois? You can help create a safe place for bees to rest and nest in your garden by creating habitat and providing abundant food sources. Check out our newest fact sheets for some tips on how to do that.

Boulder, Colorado Is Inspired by SPCP's Campaign “A Healthy Park is a Natural Park”

Check out Boulder’s new campaign that uses SPCP’s successful campaign for the Chicago Park District. We are very proud that our messaging on this issue is influencing other communities.

Rachel Rosenberg, Executive Director, featured in Chicago Tribune about Natural Lawn Care Trend


The front page of the Saturday, June 11th edition Chicago Tribune featured Executive Director, Rachel Rosenberg, discussing Natural Lawn Care as a trend. We hope that you can use the resources on our website to help you make a change to natural lawn care and encourage your city and park district to reduce their pesticide use.


Dandelion: friend or foe?

Watch Executive Director, Rachel Rosenberg, on WTTW's Chicago Tonight and Listen to Podcast on WGN Radio

Dandelions are popping up around Chicago, especially in Chicago's parks. Rachel explains how dandelions are a sign that pesticides are not being used on a lawn, meaning it is safer for children and pets. Watch the news story. Also listen to her interview on WGN Radio with Mike McConnell (interview starts at 15:45 in podcast).

Not a fan of dandelions in your yard? A lawn maintained with natural lawn care has fewer weed issues and is a healthier lawn overall. Natural lawn care is not the same as no lawn care. Learn more about natural lawn care through our fact sheets.


Pesticide Free Zone

Do you have your Pesticide Free Zone sign?

Let everyone know that your yard is pesticide free and pet and child friendly by posting a pesticide free zone sign. You can post these signs at schools, parks, and businesses. Click here to purchase online, or use our order form.

> More Information


Natural Lawn Care for Everyone

New Article by Executive Director, Rachel Rosenberg

Learn the basic steps for a safe and healthy lawn through Rachel's new article in TribLocal.

Public Right-To-Know and Lawn Care

Law gives right to pesticide notification, recommends natural lawn care

Do know about that Natural Lawn Care is recommended for schools and childcares in Illinois? Did you know that you have the right to be notified before your neighbor sprays pesticides on their lawns? The fact sheet Laws to Protect You From Outdoor Pesticides explains how changes to Illinois law improve your right-to-know and impact lawn care on public and private property.

Spray Drift Education Network

Has your garden been affected by a neighbor's use of pesticides?

Spray Drift Education Network is a new grassroots organization whose mission is to

 educate people about the issue of chemical and pesticide drift and help them respond appropriately when chemical drift occurs. 


The website (  has complete information on how to file a claim, an important first step in bringing this problem to the Department of Agriculture's attention.


Though most people might think pesticide drift is primarily a problem in rural Illinois, half of the current complaints regarding the misuse of pesticides (primarily lawn care pesticides) are generated in urban areas according to the Illinois Department of Agriculture. So, for all of you citizens out there, report, report, report and we can get some better laws into place to protect us from involuntary pesticide exposure.

Can lawns lead to climate change?

New study finds fossil fuel use outweighs benefits

It turns out lawns are not so green afterall, but there is hope!

> More Information

Growing Weed-Free Without Pesticides

Interview with ED Rachel Rosenberg

In an interview with Rosemary Piser of e-News Park Forest, SPCP Executive Director Rachel Rosenberg discussed how to maintain weed free lawns without pesticides.

Natural Lawn Care: Growing Weed-Free Without Pesticides

Natural Lawn Care Reduces Inputs, Saves Money

Harvard lawn study eliminated pesticides, saved water and recycled landscape waste

An article in the New York Times highlighted Harvard University's efforts to transform 16 acres of heavily used lawn from a sythetic to an all natural lawn care program. The results have been astounding.

> More Information

Zero Input Lawns Changing the Landscape

New grass blends require little time, chemicals and money

Tired of sinking money into your lawn? New mixes of grass seed that regirl_on_lawn_400duce lawn care maintenance costs are becoming increasingly available. Retailers claim these products require little to no fertilizer, and in many cases need no additional water - even during periods of drought. The result is an aesthetically pleasing, and slow growing, lawn that fills in just as nicely as your neighbor's.

> More Information

Beautiful lawns, gardens and parks can be maintained without using pesticides.

Pesticides kill indiscriminately, killing pests along with their natural insect predators. This leads to the irony of pesticide use: once insect predators are eliminated, pest populations grow unchecked - leading to ever-greater pesticide applications. Utilizing the basic principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), you can take charge of your home and garden without the use of pesticides and inspire others to do the same.

> More Information


Note: To download factsheets, you must sign up. It's free and simple.

Activist's Toolkit


Natural Lawn Care for Homeowners


Natural Lawn Care Calendar


Laws to Protect You From Outdoor Pesticides


Pets and Pesticides


Midwest Natural Lawn Care Companies


Products for Your Natural Lawn


Natural Lawn Care for Homeowners (Spanish)


Read Your Weeds-A Simple Guide to Creating a Healthy Lawn


A Natural Park is a Healthy Park


IPM in the Garden


IPM in the Garden (Spanish)


Pesticide Free Zone Yard Sign


Talking to Your Neighbors About Pesticides


A Tale of Two Families


Mosquito Misters: What You Need to Know


West Nile Virus and Your Community


Yard Sign Order Form


Natural Lawncare Listing Pledge


Soil Testing for Homeowners


Compost Tea Brewing Manufacturers & Distributors


Creating a Bee Friendly Garden


Municipal Pesticide Reduction Tool Kit


Where to Buy Natural Lawn Care Products



Useful Tips and Videos About Organic Lawn Care -

Natural Pest Control - Chicago Wilderness magazine

Midwest Ecological Landscaping Association

Rain Gardens and Native Landscaping - The Conservation Foundation

IPM for Turfgrass in Schools

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