Letter to the editor: Be a good neighbor with a diverse lawn!

A Yards for Kids sign in a front lawn. — Lauren Shotwell/Little Village

By Mary Kirkpatrick, Iowa City

I am so glad to live in an Iowa City neighborhood that has many lawns filled with dandelions, clover, violets and a diversity of plants growing with the grass.

It used to be that manicured grass was considered the ideal American lawn. Fortunately, that picture is changing for the better. More and more people are realizing that a sprayed lawn is not a good idea for people or the planet.

Monoculture grass lawns require the use of pesticides (herbicides, insecticides and fungicides) which are toxic lawn chemicals designed to kill weeds and insects. Unfortunately, these poisonous substances also harm other living things like children (adults, too!), pets, wildlife, bees, pollinators and water and soil life.

The good news is that support is growing for natural, unsprayed lawns. Neighbors all around our community sport yard signs promoting Good Neighbor Iowa, a statewide public education program of the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Energy and Environmental Education.

Good Neighbor Iowa aims to reduce unnecessary urban pesticide use and to transform lawn-culture to encourage appreciation of diverse lawns. Local partner organizations include 100 Grannies for a Livable Future, Backyard Abundance and New Pioneer Co-op.

Violets, clover and dandelions will not harm anyone, but pesticides do. Join the movement for safe, diverse lawns!

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