Growing - Go Organic Campaign
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GROWING, the Go Organic way
Inviting beauty and bounty into our yards and gardens

Keeping yards safe for babies, bees, the Bay, and pets!

Nature’s glory is sprouting up all over–daffodils, crocus, forsythia, budding trees. Dust off your garden gloves, grab your trowel and be part of it all. But before you trot off to your local gardening supply store, catch up on the hidden ways that toxics can turn your backyard eden into a dangerous place for kids, pets, birds, pollinators and the friendly insects we want to attract.


Toxic-free landscapes are not just possible, they are easy to achieve and maintain. Let’s make a safe and nourishing sanctuary at home. 

Calling All Bees, Birds, Butterflies and Lightening Bug Lovers!

Are Outlawed Neonics Being Sold Near You?

They might be!

Can you go and check for us please?

As of January 1, 2018, the hard-fought and won Pollinator Protection Act went into effect. Stores had 18 months after the law was passed to continue to sell their current inventories—this concession to stores ended this New Year’s day.


Except it didn’t. Apparently, many stores have not ended the sales of banned neonic-containing consumer garden and lawncare products. Maybe store managers or their corporate purchasing departments don’t know about the new Maryland law. These pollinator-harming products may be available for unwitting Maryland consumers–at a store near you. So, it falls to all of us to tell them.


Help us get these dangerous outlawed products out of Maryland stores. We need you to go to your friendly neighborhood store and check the shelf for a neonic product. Then report it to us. This fact sheet makes it easy to do in 5-10 minutes on your next visit.


Join this simple, yet effective, community service—to benefit the whole web of pollinator life. We think of it as a people-powered pollinator defender squad—will you help us? It’s a great activity to do with your children who will learn a valuable civics lesson in the process of defending the butterflies and lightening bugs we all loved as children.


The bottom line: If we don’t bring awareness of the new law to store owners and infractions to the Maryland Dept. of Agriculture, then no one is going to do anything about enforcing it. Let us know what you find and report, and we will follow-up.


Download the “5 Simple Steps” Pollinator Squad fact sheet.

Starting with Seeds & Plants

Safe Plants, Flowers & Habitat Seed

For a wealth of benefits!

Maryland suppliers and seed companies

Like the miners, who carried caged canaries into the coal mines to warn them of escaping poisonous gases, the deaths of billions of pollinating birds and insects from pesticides warns us that poison from pesticides have reached a crisis in our environment. Increasingly, seed and plants are pre-treated with the class of systemic insecticides known as neonicotinoids (aka neonics, for short). A single application of a neonic means the plant will kill for years to come the insects who feed on any part of the plant, including pollinators visiting for pollen and nectar. We can protect pollinators—a critical part of our own food web—along with our families and pets, starting right in our own backyards.


The Healthy Garden Alternative is Easier Than You Think is a downloadable guide to creating healthy gardens and yards.


NEW! 5 Simple Steps to Help Enforce Our Bee Law. Are bee-killing products sold illegally–near you? Neonic’s were banned in all consumer products as of Jan. 1 2018, but many stores still carry these deadly products. Download this fact sheet to learn how you can identify them and help us enforce the law.


Download this list of Maryland nurseries and stores who have made commitments to not sell neonic-treated plants and suppliers who specialize in untreated or organic seed.


Organic Seed Suppliers

These reputable suppliers can ship your order of organic flower, herb and vegetable seeds rapidly.

Vegetables, ornamentals and other stock

Finding organic seed isn’t difficult. The maturity of the organic gardening movement has grown a large and reputable community of seed companies who offer favorite varietals, as well as many heirloom seeds that have been naturally selected and preserved for exceptional qualities including incredible taste, blooming flowers and natural resistance.

Turn over a new leaf in your garden and enjoy the fruits!


Six Sustainable Products for Starting Spring Seeds

Mail Order Organic Seed Suppliers:

Seeds of Change

Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Annie’s Heirloom Seeds

Seed Savers Exchange

The Sustainable Seed Company

High Mowing Organic Seeds

Burpee Organics / Peaceful Valley Farm

The Organic Gardening Catalog

Rodale Organic Life’s Top Picks for Organic Seeds

Non-toxic Lawn Care

Keeping Yards Beautiful and Healthy

Avoiding a toxic stew of poisons

Pesticides including insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides lurk in “natural” lawn care services, fertilizers, mulch and more

Have you contracted with a “natural” lawn care service? Unfortunately, there is no legal definition for the word, so natural has nothing to do with the chemicals they will apply to your yard. The U.S. EPA does not evaluate actual pesticide mixtures, nor do they assess health effects from multiple pesticide exposures and lack adequate data on the long-term and low-dose health effects of exposure to pesticides.  Under a conditional registration loophole, the EPA has allowed thousands of pesticides on the market without adequate, or many cases any, toxicity testing!


Children are especially susceptible. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns that pesticide exposure is linked to pediatric cancer, decreased cognitive function and behavioral problems in children. Pets ingest lawn chemicals from treated grass or from licking of paws and fur after touching treated grass. Studies indicate that dogs exposed to lawn pesticides have a greater risk of developing canine malignant lymphoma.


Lawn care pesticides don’t stay put. They drift and move, contaminating the air we breathe, our waterways, drinking water and soil. Pesticides are not removed from finished drinking water.


Climate-savvy Alternatives to Lawns

Transitioning to an Organic Lawn is Simple, in 3 Steps by Chip Osborne, national expert


Sources for beneficial insects, organic fertilizers, pest and weed management products, supplies and more.

Arbico Organics

Gardens Alive!


Bio-rational and low hazard products for managing insect pests

PRI Product Evaluator is a free mobile app that helps you identify insects and find low toxicity products to control them, by Pesticide Research Institute.

Non-toxic & Neonic-free Products to Manage Top 30 Insect Pests quick reference sheet

Healthy Soil

The Magic of Life-Giving Soil

Vital nutrient losses in our soil, and food, are just part of the reason to rebuild soil.

New research discovers the vital role the soil biome has in sequestering carbon and reversing climate change

Improving soil health actually reduces the need to manage insect predation because healthier plants have better resistance to insects and are less attractive to them. Here’s a start with basic steps to improve the soil in your yard and garden.

Healthy Soils Practices fact sheet

5 Ways You Can Improve Soil Health

More on Protecting Pollinators

Gardeners Beware: Bee-Toxic Pesticides Found in “Bee-Friendly” Plants Sold at Garden Centers Across the U.S. January 1, 2016

This updated report finds 28 percent decrease in toxic pesticides in “bee-friendly” plants and shows that retailer commitments are shifting the market.

Fact Sheet: Protecting Bees from Neonics in Your Garden