Exciting news! Chip Osborne is offering a course on natural turf care in Westminster, CO, on March 18 and 19, 2014. It’s a great opportunity to get educated! Click here for more information.
Looking for a great business opportunity?
As pesticides receive more and more bad press, demand for ethical and effective organic landscape maintenance is growing in Boulder County. Citizens for Pesticide Reform is regularly asked for the names of good companies, and we haven’t always had much to offer. Word gets around in this community, and if you do a good job filling this niche, we’d be delighted to let people know about you!
Why provide organic landscape management?
- It’s an opportunity to expand your business. Think major grocery chains selling organic food, and big garbage companies providing recycling services.
- It’s healthier for you and your staff. After all, who’s out there working with all those chemicals?
- It’s better for your customers and the environment. You get to be a good guy, contributing to the health of kids, pets, and the planet.
A few tips:
- Don’t “just say no.” Maybe you’ve heard—or even uttered—this lament: “We tried organic, just like the customer wanted, but they didn’t like the results.” Don’t just stop using your chemical arsenal. Do a little research, and put an effective organic program in its place.
- Manage expectations. Especially if you’re transitioning from chemical care to organic care, make sure your customers know that you’re not providing a quick fix. Educate them from the beginning about the transition period, but remind them that you’re taking a long-term approach that truly builds the health of their soil and their plants.
- Go all the way. If you say you use integrated pest management (IPM) but often resort to the same old pesticides in the end, you’re not really providing what the customer wants—and you risk earning a shady reputation. Beware of products that are advertised as less toxic or for use as part of an IPM program. Many of them are still plenty unhealthy—and unhelpful in the long run.
- Know about the costs. Keep in mind that expenses decrease the longer you implement an organic program. The healthy soil and its microscopic inhabitants end up doing a lot of the work for you. Also, factor in the water savings that go along with organic turf management. Check out this study comparing the long-term costs of organic and conventional lawn-care programs.
- Understand what works. It’s not about substituting organic products for the ones you’re used to. It’s about changing your horticultural techniques to encourage healthy soil and healthy plants.
- Learn the latest. It’s getting easier, with training and other resources becoming more available. See the links below.
- Understand why people want organic. Learn a little about the health and environmental risks of pesticides, and you’re likely to get as fired up as we are about the alternatives! It’s hard to argue with the American Academy of Pediatrics when they recommend that children’s exposures to pesticides be minimized. We offer plenty of links to start with right here on our website.
- Let us know what you’re doing. If you implement an effective all-organic program, we’re eager to refer to you and mention you on our website!
Resources for Professionals
Osborne Organics. Chip Osborne, of Marblehead, MA, offers workshops for landscape professionals and consults with landscape professionals, municipalities, and schools. He’s consulted with the City of Boulder and CU. Note: Chip is offering a course in Westminster, CO, on March 18 and 19, 2014. It’s a great opportunity to get educated! Click here for more information.
Grassroots Healthy Lawn Program. Grassroots offers education for landscape professionals, including a four-hour training program on DVD, along with support materials. You might start by checking out the short introductory DVD for landscape professionals (featuring Chip Osborne) called Growing Your Business the Natural Way (also available through CPR—call or e-mail us). Grassroots also lists on its website professionals who have completed its training course.
Northeast Organic Farming Association Organic Land Care Project. Offers written materials, training, tools, standards, and accreditation for landscape professionals.
National Coalition for Pesticide-Free Lawns. The coalition offers recordings of a training given in the fall of 2006, as well as a listing of organic landscape professionals nationwide.
Pesticides and Playing Fields. An article from Beyond Pesticides.
Tools for Change. This is also from Beyond Pesticides. Scroll down for a list of measures taken by states and municipalities across the United States and Canada.
The Sustainable Places Information Network. This is a site where landscape professionals can connect online.