Interviewing Experts: A More Perfect Lawn

Notes from a telephone interview with Edwina von Gal, on Tuesday 18th April. 

In 2013, Edwina founded the Perfect Earth Project to promote toxin-free landscapes for the health of people, their pets, and the planet. They provide outreach and education, to move home-owners and lawn care services away from pesticides. Prior to Perfect Earth Edwina was a landscape architect in NYC for more than 30 years, and had set-up her own design studio.

What is their strategy?

  • Focus efforts on those already pre-disposed to health concerns, for example, pregnant mothers, families, pet owners.
  • Work with local environmental groups and organic food shops to spread the message about their events in the community.
  • Focus on the home owner (the client) and in that way bring about a change in practice from the landscaper.

What aspects are most effective at persuading people to move to a toxin-free garden?

  • Health! 
    • Particularly endocrine disruptors and carcinogens found in pesticides
  • Women – are most receptive to their ideas, and will persuade the husbands if they are involved in the garden maintenance.

How do they create a perfect lawn?

  • A different skill set is required – landscapers are taught to kill everything but 3 species, so it is ‘easy’ to maintain.
  • In reality, a more bio-diverse lawn will fertilize itself and maintain itself, but it needs some knowledge  and skill from the landscape architect to go into its initial development.

Their philosophy:

  • Historically lawns and gardens were a display of power – Versailles the first major example of this.
  • We do not have to control nature anymore – it is not going to hurt us.
  • We need to let nature back into  our lives, and even contribute positively to our environment.
  • Relinquish some control!

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