To further the impact of its program, Stonyfield Organic has now announced its goal to help convert some of the country’s most famous parks, Central Park in New York City, Prospect Park in Brooklyn and Grant Park in Chicago, to be organically maintained by 2025, through several donations. By the end of April, Grant Park will be the first of the parks to begin the organic transition as part of the #PlayFree initiative.
The organic yogurt brand discovered while most American parents (69%) are looking to lessen their children’s exposure to pesticides in food, nearly the same number (67%) do not consider exposure at sports fields, playgrounds and parks to be of concern.
Stonyfield said it wants to bring attention to this issue, considering more than 26m kids play sports on the 670,000 fields across the country with 65% of the fields sprayed with pesticides.
Stonyfield has converted more than 35 parks since the program’s inception and contributed more than $2m to the initiative. It teams up with communities nationwide to assist their transitions to organic grounds management and bring organic model fields to millions of people.
This year, Stonyfield aims to make change at some of the most famous urban parks in the country. The company is working with a coalition of organizations to push NYC legislation, to pass bill, “Intro 1524,” that will prohibit city agencies from applying toxic pesticides to any property owned or leased by the city. This bill has the majority support of New York City Council members but is yet to be passed. After moving through the hearing process with unanimous support, the legislation is awaiting a vote of the full Council.
From there, Stonyfield’s donation will help the coalition, which includes groups like Grassroots Environmental, Beyond Pesticides, Osborne Organics, The Black Institute, and Parks for Kids NYC, to work with the city to provide training and begin organic maintenance. Also, in Chicago, Stonyfield is in the process of working with Parks and Recreation authorities at Grant Park and Sherman Park, as the parks will officially begin converting to organic grounds by the end of April.
Additional parks across the country will be converted this year as well, including Jordan Park in Allentown, PA, Reservoir Park in Harrisburg, PA, and fields in Matthews, NC, to name a few. Each of this year’s selected communities will receive a monetary donation to use toward the purchase of organic inputs and/or landscaping equipment needed for organic grounds management. The communities will also receive in-kind technical support and guidance underwritten by Stonyfield from the yogurt maker’s collaborators, including Beyond Pesticides, Non-Toxic Neighborhoods, Osborne Organics and Midwest Grows Green.
This year, Stonyfield launched an online pesticide portal where citizens can tag a park to have it reviewed by the StonyFIELD task force. If chosen, Stonyfield will provide local park officials with the proper tools to test for harmful pesticides and offer resources to transition.