Yogurt maker Stonyfield Organic is promoting its organic “obsession” by donating funds to shift three of the country’s most famous parks — Central Park in Manhattan, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, and Grant Park in Chicago — to 100% organic maintenance. The organic transition is part of the company’s #PlayFree program, intended to keep parks and playing fields free of pesticides.
Grant Park will be the first to begin transitioning to organic maintenance. The donations will make the parks fully pesticide-free by 2025.
The organic yogurt brand discovered that 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 wants to remedy this, pointing out that 65% of fields across the country are sprayed with harmful pesticides like glyphosate, 2,4-D and Dicamba, a source of concern for chemical exposure. Stonyfield has converted more than 35 parks since the program’s inception and contributed over $2 million dollars to the initiative. Stonyfield teams up with communities nationwide to assist with their transitions to organic grounds management.
Stoneyfield is also 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.
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.
Stonyfield Organic invites communities to tag local parks via its Pesticide Portal to have it reviewed by a Stonyfield task force. “If chosen, we will provide local park officials in your community with the proper tools to test for harmful pesticides and offer resources for them to transition,” Stonyfield says.