(Courtesy photo)

Soccer players, lawn bowlers and picnickers can look forward to enjoying Richmond’s Nicholl Park without fear of pesticides as the city switches to organic maintenance with help from a yogurt company.

Stonyfield Organic, a New Hampshire company, donated $5,000 to the city to help pay for the move away from harmful pesticides to organic weed control at the 21-acre park.

“We’ll use the money to buy alternative projects like high-strength vinegar” for weed control, said Richmond Mayor Tom Butt. “It’s much appreciated.”

In 2012, the city was one of the first in the nation to enact a complete ban on chemical pesticides in its public parks and fields, the mayor said. Making the switch hasn’t been easy, though, as the city has searched for the right products to do the job.

The city worked with a national organization, Beyond Pesticides, to help with the switch. The mayor said the connection with Stonyfield probably came about through that organization.

“There are so many other ways of maintaining landscaping and weeds besides using glyphosate,” the mayor said.

Stonyfield is working with communities across America and experts in the field to make all playing fields like Nicholl Park organic by stopping the use of pesticides.

“Our goal is to help communities across America take the necessary steps to convert to organic field maintenance,” according to the company’s website.