All across the country, many states and school districts have decided that pesticide-free schools are better for children’s health – and that doesn’t mean schools are overrun with bugs or playing fields full of weeds!
Below are just a handful of the many examples – highlighted in the new report A Generation in Jeopardy– of school that are controlling pests without harmful chemicals. Why not at your school too?
- Since 2005, K-8 school playing fields in Connecticut have been pesticide-free. In 2009, the law was extended to daycare center grounds.
- New York lawmakers signed the Child Safe Playing Fields Act into law in 2010, banning use of pesticides on playgrounds and sports fields at schools (including high schools) and daycare centers.
- School districts in California are using fewer pesticides after a 2000 state law required schools to report what they spray, and provided incentives for adoption of Integrated Pest Management. School districts in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Palo Alto have made particularly good progress.
And schools are keeping pesticides out of school lunches too! Chemical residues on food mean everyday exposure for children – and studies show even these low levels can cause serious health problems.
Many school cafeterias are going pesticide-free:
- In Washington state, the Olympia School District has implemented an Organic Choices Salad Bar 25% of the produce is purchased from local farms, and 50% of the salad bar is organic.
- The Orcas Island Farm-to-Cafeteria Program integrates produce from local, organic farmers and a school garden — and hosts student chef competitions!
- In Minnesota, the White Earth Land Recovery Project recently added a Farm to School component to their Mino-miijim (Good Food) Program to bring students fresh, local and organic food at school.
- Berkeley, California’s Edible Schoolyard (ESY) Project began as a one-acre “interactive classroom” providing organic, fresh fruits and vegetables for student’s meals. This small project has grown into an online program sharing a food curriculum, and is now a model for similar programs across the country.