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"The Great Healthy Yard Project, Our Yards, Our Children, Our Responsibility" by Diane Lewis, M.D.

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Hi everyone. I want to introduce myself for this thread. My name is Diane Lewis, and I’m founder and author of The Great Healthy Yard Project. I am a mom and a doctor. For 15 years I had an organic farm in the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks. Now I keep a more manageable backyard farm an hour north of New York City in Katonah, New York, which saves our family countless hours of driving back and forth. Katonah is in the New York City watershed, and when I was asked to chair the Water and Land Use task force of a local non-profit Bedford 2020 several years ago, I realized how important our backyards are, no matter how big or small, to water quality.
My book "The Great Healthy Yard Project" explains how the most widespread source of contaminants in our waterways and our drinking water are the chemicals many people use casually on their yards and gardens, and the pharmaceuticals disposed of down the drains. These have newly understood impacts on our health. The good thing is this is really easy to change-we don’t need to use these chemicals.
Now, I assume many people on this permies web site are here because they feel strongly about not using these chemicals and about growing more sustainably. But water is a shared resource, and even if we grow organically, to protect our water we need to get all of our neighbors on board with this. Homeowners own more than half of the land in the United States, and they use up to 10 times more chemical per acre than conventional farmers do! The Great Healthy Yard Project provides the tools to explain this issue to our friends and neighbors. Although really easy to understand, it is referenced with tier one medical journals. And while the easiest thing is to do nothing-just not to use these chemicals, the book and the website have lots of information about how to care for our yards and gardens without these chemicals so that our yards are even more beautiful.
So I hope everyone will take the Great Healthy Yard pledge and convince their friends and neighbors to do the same. “I pledge to take care of my yard without synthetic pesticides, weedkillers, or fertilizers, except on rare occasions in a localized manner to resolve an infestation or to improve habitat for native plants and wildlife. I also promise not to dispose of pharmaceuticals and chemicals down the drain.” Together we can make a big improvement in our drinking water!
I am looking forward to your questions, stories, and suggestions!
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Howdy Dr. Lewis, welcome to permies!
Acetylsalicylic acid is aspirin. This could be handy too:
Pre-order Certified Garden Master course - LIVE Stream
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