Pesticide-Free New Canaan

Pesticide-Free New Canaan is a growing group of parents and neighbors who are concerned about the negative health effects of lawn pesticides on our families, pets, and water supply. Together with our institutional partner, the New Canaan Nature Center, our volunteers are dedicated to helping others understand the dangers and take practical action.

By urging the community to take the Pesticide Free Zone challenge—in which homeowners treat their lawns naturally, without the use of synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides—we hope to raise awareness, teach best practices, and reduce the presence of these harmful chemicals in our lawns and yards. We recognize that this challenge may take time for some to accept, so we provide information and resources for whatever the level of commitment, from those who want to go organic right away to those who will simply consider cutting back on the number of chemical applications. Our mission is not only to protect public health, but to grow lawns and gardens that are healthy, robust, and low in maintenance. Sound impossible? It’s already happening all over the country. Join us!

What Do We Mean by Pesticide-Free?

Ideally, “pesticide-free” means that no chemical herbicides or pesticides are used on our lawns or landscapes at all. If we work to prevent problems using good practices and adjust our expectations to allow for the occasional weed or insect, we should not have major problems affecting our lawns. Non-toxic pest management tools are those methods, products, and techniques that do not put human health and the environment at risk.

If controls are desired, using natural/organic materials such as corn gluten, botanicals, and biological controls or least-toxic materials like fatty-acid or insecticidal soaps, is consistent with the Pesticide-Free Zone lawn marker. What we want to avoid are toxic pesticides sold over the counter and used by commercial applicators that are linked with cancer, developmental and learning disabilities, nerve and immune system damage, liver or kidney damage, reproductive impairment, birth defects, or disruption of the endocrine (hormonal) system in humans and animals. Not to mention the pollution of our drinking water, streams, rivers, oceans, natural habitats, and ecosystem.

Minimum risk pesticides are a special class of pesticides that are not subject to federal registration requirements because their ingredients, both active and inert, are demonstrably safe for the intended use. These are generally compatible with the Pesticide-Free Zone philosophy, as are products listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (, which creates the allowed inputs for USDA certified organic food. Some minimum-risk pesticides are cinnamon, citronella, peppermint oil, common salt, and corn gluten meal, for example. For information on minimum-risk pesticides in Connecticut, please contact the Department of Environmental Protection’s Pesticide Management Program at (860) 424-3369. The use of the lawn marker is based on the honor system and not monitored. If you have questions about the suitability of certain products, please feel free to contact Pesticide-Free New Canaan, or consult a NOFA-accredited organic lawn care provider (

Find out what your lawn says about you. Take our Pestide Quiz.

Download our Lawn Pesticide Fact Sheet.

Still need convincing? Click Here.

Resources to Help You Get Started

Talking to Neighbors or Service Providers

How to Transition Your Lawn

How to Maintain a Pesticide-Free Lawn

How to Understand Your Lawn

Additional Resources

Check out the following organizations for more information on going pesticide-free!
Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)
Beyond Pesticides
Pesticide Free Zone

Contact Us

Send us an email at and watch for us on Facebook!