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David Suzuki Garden Photo Contest

enters it's final weeks
by Jason Curran
August 25, 2008

Just like reality TV, this year’s David Suzuki Digs My Garden contest will feature its own panel of celebrity judges to decide Canada’s most beautiful, chemical-free gardens.

Two ‘mystery’ musicians will join Olympic freestyle skier Warren Tanner and gardening writer Marjorie Harris to judge the hundreds of entries in this year’s competition.

“This contest showcases Canada’s most bountiful and beautiful gardens and demonstrates just how easy it is to grow vegetables, fruit, flowers and shrubs without harmful chemicals,” says Dr. Suzuki

The Digs My Garden contest has now entered its final weeks, which means that individuals and groups have only a few days to send-in photos and stories of their luscious lawns and gorgeous gardens (www.davidsuzuki.org/gardencontest). To date, more than 580 individuals, as well as 50 community groups have submitted entries into one of the four categories: Outstanding Ornamentals, Luscious Lawns, Voluminous Vegetables, and Balcony Bliss. The goal of the campaign is to encourage gardeners to submit photos and stories about how and why they maintain their gardens 100% pesticide-free. Novice and non-gardeners can also sign-up to receive tips on how to grow luscious lawns and gardens ‘drug-free’.

“Gardening with chemicals is largely unnecessary. Pesticide-free gardens are not only easy to maintain, but safe for the environment, our health and our children’s health,” says Dr. Suzuki.

Winners in each category will receive an official Digs My Garden T-shirt, Saltspring seeds, a $50 gift certificate with organic food delivery company, spud!, and a personalized thank-you video from David Suzuki.

Exposure to pesticides can lead to serious illness such as cancers, neurological diseases and reproductive problems. One popular lawn herbicide called "2,4-D", can easily be found in products in many Canadian retail stores. Pesticides can also accumulate in the natural food chain, destroy bacteria and nutrients that improve soil and nourish plants, and kill off important insects such as ladybugs and honeybees.

Gardening is one of the most popular pastimes in Canada:

· Nearly 75 per cent of Canadian households have a lawn or garden (2006).

· On an average day, more than 10 per cent of Canadians aged 30 and over spend time working on their lawn or garden, with the average participant spending more than two hours doing yard work.

· In spite of increased efforts to build awareness of the potential health threats of pesticides nearly 30 per cent of households in Canada still use pesticides on their lawns and gardens.

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