Hello Lakeland,

THE GOOD NEWS: We had 10 tons of soil successfully delivered this morning.

THE BAD NEWS: As we were setting up and waiting for our volunteers to arrive, it came to our attention that — due to a miscommunication (on our part) and through NO fault of anyone else — the raised beds we had built, the immediate surrounding area, and the fence line on the property had been sprayed with Round Up, as a means to clear out the grass in the area, and eliminate weeds.

When we realized what had happened, our hearts sank. To us, this is the antithesis to our vision for an organic community garden space. Glyphosate (Round Up) has been identified as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization, and has been linked to various environmental concerns, including the pollution of our waterways and decline of the monarch butterfly. It is one of the top chemicals that we are trying to avoid in our community space.

We know that we personally do not want to grow food in wooden beds that have been sprayed with a potent and toxic herbicide. And we know that it is our responsibility to the community, and to the earth, to make this community garden space as safe (and sustainable) as possible. A clean space to grow the food we are eating… And the alternative to unsustainable, conventional farming practices.

So we sat down, cancelled the event (please know, we’re so sorry for doing this last minute), took a few breaths, and discussed our next steps. At first, we felt at a loss. And then we realized something: This is the reality now. The reality that the average home gardener faces, ESPECIALLY those of us who are trying to grow food organically. When we move into a new home, we don’t know the history of the soil in our yard. In fact, more likely than not, our yards have been sprayed with pesticides, probably Round Up, before we even arrived on the scene. Our neighbors are spraying pesticides, which can wash into our yard, and this is also beyond our control. This is a problem that we HAVE to be able to find a solution for, if we want to gain momentum in our movement. If we want “growing your own food organically” to be accessible to the average person.

So what can we do? We DO know that we will be rebuilding the garden beds; we simply feel that this is the best, and safest, action to take, since they were directly sprayed, and made from soft, absorbent wood that had never been treated. We know that using the “raised bed” model, with organic soil, is a boon to us in this situation, especially if we install a fabric liner as an added layer of protection. We are also reaching out to local experts who share our values to discuss the best ways to remediate our garden space. We welcome anyone who is, or knows, resident organic gardening/permaculture experts, to message us with advice as we work through this problem (thank you!)

Please bear with us as we work as hard as we can to create the safest, best possible gardening space for you, our wonderful community. We care deeply about doing this correctly and will give you nothing less than a space that we wholeheartedly believe in.

Much love,
– The Backyard Team