NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

March 26, 2011

Workshop on organic lawn care at refuge


NEWBURYPORT — Homeowners are invited to learn organic lawn care methods and maintenance during the workshop, Organic Lawns for Homeowners, to be held at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, 6 Plum Island Turnpike, from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 9.

This intensive workshop is one of 12 happening statewide, as part of NOFA/Mass Statewide Organic Lawn Days, hosted by The Northeast Organic Farming Association/Massachusetts Chapter Inc., and funded by the Toxics Use Reduction Institute of the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

The workshop will be hosted by NOFA accredited organic land care professional Javier Gil of J. Gil Organic Landscaping based in Newburyport. Javier earned his AAS in horticulture from the Essex Agricultural School in 2004. A native of Spain, he became a certified lawn care professional by the Grassroots Healthy Lawn Program in 2006 and is Maugett certified. He serves on several associations and committees and teaches organic and ecological gardening and landscaping throughout New England.

The three-hour workshop will cover all aspects of caring for one's own lawn organically, including the organic approach to lawn care, soil testing and soil health, growing healthy grass, mowing, seeding, aerating and topdressing techniques and how-to-find organic supplies, compost and materials needed. The workshop will also include a hands-on component, including a demonstration of organic lawn equipment and cultural practices on organically maintained properties.

The overall project goals are to reduce the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers in the management of residential lawns; to educate and demonstrate the benefits of eliminating toxics in lawns (less exposure to toxins, decreased groundwater pollution, increased air quality, cost savings over time, fewer inputs, healthier lawns); and to provide ongoing support to homeowners and groups requesting this information and education.

The workshop fee is $25 ($5 discount for NOFA/MOFGA members). For more information or to register, contact Kathy Litchfield at 413-773-3830 or Kathy@nofamass.org. Online registration is available at www.nofamass.org.