Fixing a Broken System: Why an Environmentalist Started a Lawn Care Company – Glenview Announcements

From the community: Fixing a Broken System: Why an Environmentalist Started a Lawn Care Company

Fixing a Broken System: Why an Environmentalist Started a Lawn Care Company

Greenwise founder and owner Marc Wise and his best friend Ozzie enjoy a sunny day outside. (Posted by michael946, Community Contributor)

By Community Contributor michael946 Environmental Science Evanston Environmental Politics

Evanston, IL – [March 23, 2015] – At a meeting of the Citizens Greener Evanston and Evanston TreeKeepers, Marc Wise stood before the podium, about to address a roomful of environmental activists. The founder and owner of Evanston-based Greenwise Organic Lawn Care, Wise was the only representative of his industry in the room.

“How many of you are frustrated with landscape companies?” Wise asked, much to the crowd’s surprise.

Almost in unison, everyone in the audience raised their hand.

Wise remained unfazed. “I am too. That’s why I started Greenwise Organic Lawn Care: The system is broken. Let’s talk about why.”

The list of frustrations he heard from the audience were very familiar to Wise: Noise and pollution from overly powerful equipment, toxic chemicals and synthetic products, a focus on turf and disregard to the rest of the environment, removing organic debris such as leaves and grass clippings instead of mulching and leaving the natural nutrients in place, and an approach to doing things the same way for years because it was “the way we always do it’ instead of it being best practice.

“The synthetic lawn fertilization industry puts toxins on the very areas that people and their pets want to safely enjoy,” Wise said. “Ironically, this harmful approach to lawn care isn’t even the best way to take care of the lawn.”

Wise points to research such as a 2003 Environmental Protection Agency report which states that of the 30 commonly used lawn pesticides 19 have studies pointing toward carcinogens, 13 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 15 with neurotoxicity, 26 with liver or kidney damage, 27 are sensitizers and/or irritants, and 11 have the potential to disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) system.

“The sad fact is that none of these pesticides are even necessary to have a healthy landscape,” Wise said. “That’s why I felt it was time to make a change and push things forward.”

When he started Greenwise, Wise was a 25-year-old idealist with no landscaping or business experience. Eight years later Wise is at the helm of Chicago’s leading organic lawn care and sustainable landscape company.

“I grew up in the Midwest and love it here but was always drawn to the wilderness,” Wise said. “I ended up out West where I saw first-hand the importance of environmental stewardship and how simply it can be incorporated into daily life.”

Wise graduated from Prescott College in Arizona, with a degree in Environmental Studies, focusing on Ecological Sustainability and Organic Agriculture. Equipped with a biodiesel Volkswagen Jetta and a trailer filled with organic lawn fertilizer he returned to the Midwest to bring organic lawn care to the Chicago area.

“We knew from the start that Greenwise needed to be the best possible landscaping company,” Wise said. “Greenwise couldn’t be just the best organic lawn care company in order to succeed in a highly competitive industry.”

For Greenwise, Wise crafted a three-fold approach: First, safety: Do no harm, to the environment, to the clients or to the employees. Second, use a personal touch and emphasize client communications. Third, always use superior quality products and craftsmanship and stand behind the work unconditionally.

Wise developed an effective, proprietary program of organic fertilization and maintained some of the most beautiful properties in the Chicago area. It wasn’t long before the traditional synthetic chemical fertilization companies realized that organics were more than just a passing fad and began offering “green” options.

“We’re fostering evolution, not revolution, Wise said. “It’s common sense not to apply toxic chemicals to areas that we value to for relaxation, recreation and renewal.”

At the end of his recent address, Wise once again touched on the conventional approach of the lawn care industry.

“Do you why landscape companies operate the way they do? Because of current demand,” Wise said. “And they will continue to operate that way as long as customers are OK with it. I need your help to change the demand: How many of you want to help me fix the system?”

Almost in unison, everyone in the audience raised their hand.

Founded in 2007, Greenwise Organic Lawn Care is the leading organic lawn care company in the Greater Chicago area. Greenwise provides organic lawn care, sustainable landscape design and installation, eco-friendly landscape maintenance, sustainable horticultural and arbor care, and eco-friendly snow removal services. More information about Greenwise can be found at

For additional information contact: Michael Kormanik (847) 866-1930

via Fixing a Broken System: Why an Environmentalist Started a Lawn Care Company – Glenview Announcements.