PORTLAND, Maine — Fox Field at Kennedy Park is one of Portland’s most used public parks, especially during the pandemic. Maintenance methods for the park often require the use of pesticides which can be harmful to park users.
Portland is one of 14 cities across the U.S. that was selected to take part in the transition to organic management as part of Stonyfield’s #PlayFree initiative, an ambitious multi-year and multi-million-dollar commitment to convert public parks and fields across the country to organic pest management.
The City of Portland has received a $10,000 donation from Hannaford, Stonyfield Organics, and Osborn Organics. The money will go toward things like soil tests and other startup costs associated with a new organic maintenance plan. The City of Portland hopes this is just the beginning.
“We want to get to a point where we don’t need to apply pesticides so we want to develop a program on a high use field like this to show our team and the city that we can do it across all of our fields,” City of Portland Parks Director Alex Marshall said.
According to a recent survey by Stonyfield Organic, 92% of Portland area residents sought sanctuary in the outdoors during the coronavirus pandemic, with dog owners especially craving more outdoor time with their put. The study shows that 60% of dog owners are not aware that public parks are using pesticides to treat the grass. Stonyfield says their work with the City of Portland aims to bring greater awareness about possible exposure to pesticides in these increasingly important outdoor playing fields and community spaces.
Bug Light Park in South Portland has also benefited from this program.