Hyattsville’s Magruder Park will be managed entirely organically and presticide-free starting this fall.
With the help of a new effort by the makers of the popular yogurt brand Stonyfield Organic, the 32-acre Hyattsville park will stop using conventional pesticides and fertilizers as part of the StonyFIELDS #Playfree initiative.
Hyattsville was chosen by Stonyfield as just one of 10 initial communities across the country (there will be 35 cities participating all together, but only 10 were selected for the initial kick-off). This was due in part because of a 2016 local ordinance that aims to reduce the use of pesticides on city-managed land, except in the case of invasive species, a state mandate or a public health situation.
The effort will begin with a simple soil test to look at the pH and ability to hold nutrients, Stonyfield spokeswoman Kristina Drociak told the Hyattsville Wire.
“After the results come back, a custom management plan is developed for the specific land being managed — and this always includes planting new organic grass in bare spots, changing mowing strategies, and determining what organic inputs are needed to bring the soil back to health,” she said.
The program first launched in South Portland, Maine at Bug Light Park. “The goal is to show that a very high-profile park that is used intensively by the community can be managed organically,” Drociak said.
In addition, Stonyfield chose eight other cities to be part of this pilot program: Costa Mesa, Burbank and Tustin, Calif.; Salt Lake City; Houston, Texas; North Miami, Fla.; and Portsmouth and Dover, N.H.
The new initiative will kick off at “Magruder Park FIELDS Day,” a free event this Sunday, Oct. 21, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a ribbon cutting, organic barbecue, live music, crafts and games.