LONGMONT — Colorado-based health-food chain Natural Grocers, also known as Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Markets Inc.(NYSE: NGVC), and nonprofit Beyond Pesticides are removing synthetic pesticides and fertilizers in Longmont’s Roosevelt Park Memorial Rose Garden.
Beyond Pesticides advocates for public health and environmental protection and works with partners in the U.S.
The project, operating under the “Ladybug Love Your Neighborhoods” campaign, will replace current gardening practices with organic products. Pamela Lipshitz, director of public relations for Natural Grocers, said work in Roosevelt Park has already begun.
The partnership plans to work with other communities and parks on projects that will later be announced.
Lipshitz said Beyond Pesticides works with community leaders to identify public spaces, including parks, school grounds and playing fields. From there, site evaluation and training are provided for grounds-maintenance staff and service providers on management practices. There’s also educational resources on organic gardening. Natural Grocers said the partnership worked with Longmont city parks and natural resources director David Bell for the Roosevelt Park project.
Gardening practices are a small part of a month-long effort from the partnership in honor of September’s Organic Harvest Month. The month was implemented in the early ’90s by the Organic Trade Association to promote organic food and agriculture in the U.S. through regional and local events.
Natural Grocers wants to raise $100,000 for Beyond Pesticides this month. In stores, $1 from every purchase of a reusable limited-edition “Organic Month Headquarters” shopping bag will go toward the nonprofit organization. Additionally, customers may donate $1, $5 or $10 at Natural Grocer stores toward Beyond Pesticides.
The grocery chain will have educational videos throughout the month on organic and environmentally friendly practices. Every week, Natural Grocer’s organic-farm vendors will be featured on its social media with a “Meet Your Farmer” behind-the-scenes series.
This month, stores will have sales ranging from 7% to 10% off of different products for loyalty program shoppers. Each week’s category changes. There will also be meal giveaways from an essay-writing contest.