Grass Roots

A group formed to educate people about the dangers of pesticide use. Let's keep our roots non-toxic.

flowers water color
Water color painting by Sarah Rosenblatt

Sometimes ignorance can be an excuse. It was mine.
Suzanne Rosenblatt

Although I knew pesticides weren't safe, I didn't realize they were lethal. So my dog Lilac lead a good life, running on the grass alongside my bike, until she died young of cancer in 1992. That's when I discovered that many dogs were dying young. If dogs who sniff the grass die of cancer, what happens to babies who crawl, children who play, families that picnic on treated grass? What happens when we track pesticides onto our carpets?

On August 11, 2001, a pesticide sign got caught in my spokes; my bike landed on my foot and broke it. Jim Stingl wrote a column in the Journal-Sentinel about the irony of an eco-poet breaking her foot on a pesticide sign, accompanied by a photo of me in my cast, and I became a magnet for everyone's pesticide horror story. I felt I had to do something, so I formed Grass Roots. I don't want ignorance to be anyone's excuse.

[Poems] [Links] [Contact]
[Events] [Tips & Info]

The Inside Story of My Foot, Suzanne's journal of her broken foot.
"One day the vet said Lilac had cancer, the next day Lilac was dead! That's how I discovered, in 1992, that dogs all over the Milwaukee area were dying of cancer, apparently triggered by pesticides. So it follows that pesticides also affect humans..."
Suzanne's Presentation on Pesticide Use to the Shorewood Village Board - July 11, 2005

Pesticides from a Poet's Point of View

We deny all beauty to a dandelion wordrawing thumbnail

We deny all beauty to a dandelion
Past its prime
Greying the grass
Like a tuft of shed doghair
We ignore its starred design
Till it's our own time
To be blown away
Then perhaps we look more closely.

Click the titles below to view the whole poem.
Lilac portrait by Eli
Detail of painting of Lilac by Eli Rosenblatt


As I bike around the neighborhood, I often think of Lilac, who loved to run alongside my bike, sniffing the lawns. This is the poemsong I wrote in her honor.


I have exciting news for you today
I somehow found a dandelion in Whitefish Bay...


I would like to clue you in
So your neighbors' yards won't do you in
Look for clover and dandelion
If a lawn's safe for them
That's a healthy sign...


Color the lips, slim down the hips, get rid of the double chin
Realign teeth, cover crows' feet...

We ignore the damage that might arise
Creating faces and lawns that are


Information on the effects of pesticides and natural alternatives for lawn care:

Healthy Communities Project
A healthier community starts in your own back yard.
"Healthy Communities Project (HCP) started very simply, with a young mother's letter to the local paper expressing concern about the widespread use of pesticides in the community and their potential effects on children and the environment, namely Lake Michigan... "
Organic Consumers Association
The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is a grassroots non-profit public interest organization which deals with crucial issues of food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, corporate accountability, and environmental sustainability.
Audubon at Home
"In every yard and on every property, there's the need and potential to improve environmental health and habitat quality. With the right tools and information, we all can do simple things in the course of our everyday life to create healthier habitat for birds, plants, and other wildlife..."
The Cancer Prevention Coalition, Inc.
The Cancer Prevention Coalition, Inc. (CPC), which opened its national office in Chicago in July 1994, is a unique nationwide coalition of leading independent experts in cancer prevention and public health, together with citizen activists and representatives of organized labor, public interest, environmental and women's health groups.
Greater Madison Healthy Lawn Team
GMHLT is a group of citizens in the Madison, Wisconsin area who are concerned with the health and environmental effects of pesticide and fertilizer use in our community.
Pesticide Action Network
PANNA (Pesticide Action Network North America) works to replace pesticide use with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives.
PAN Pesticides Database
"one-stop location for current toxicity and regulatory information for pesticides"
The Center for Children's Health and the Environment
The Center for Children's Health and the Environment (CCHE) is the nation's first academic research and policy center to examine the links between exposure to toxic pollutants and childhood illness.
Children's Health Environmental Coalition
"CHEC's mission is to inform parents and all those concerned with the welfare of children about preventable health and development problems caused by exposures to toxic substances in homes, schools and communities and to encourage the public to take action to protect children against these toxic threats."
Beyond Pesticides
Beyond Pesticides seeks safe air, water, land and food for ourselves and future generations.
North Shore Recycling
Natural Yard Care - natural lawn care, waterwise and organic gardening, biological pest control, mulching, etc.
National Resources Defense Council
Toxic Chemicals & Health, includes a Kid's Health section
Environmental Working Group
EWG is a not-for-profit environmental research organization dedicated to improving public health and protecting the environment by reducing pollution in air, water and food. (information on body burden, pesticides in produce)
Pesticide Education Network
Practical information from John Sankey, field-naturalist in the Ottawa Valley, eastern Ontario, Canada.
Pesticide Free Lawn
Grass Roots member Kate Teipel's site has information plus you can order Pesticide Free Lawn signs . Sales help support cancer research and environmental causes.
Global Recognition Campaign for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and other Chemically Induced Illnesses, Diseases & Injury. Extensive data and links on chemicals and the serious health effects thereof on human health & environmental health. A lot of information also on safer alternatives and some personal stories of chemically induced illnesses.


You may use this form to contact me for more information about Grass Roots. When you have completed filling in the form, please click the Submit button below to send the email message. Note, all fields are required.

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Copyright © 2003-6 Suzanne Rosenblatt. All rights reserved.
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