SOURCE: Gardener's Supply

Gardener's Supply

November 05, 2009 19:58 ET

5 Local Companies Bring New Controversial Film to Burlington

Vermont Launches "A Chemical Reaction"

BURLINGTON, VT--(Marketwire - November 5, 2009) - On the heels of a sellout premiere at the World Film Festival in Montreal and across the United States, the inspirational, yet controversial documentary "A Chemical Reaction" will come to Burlington for its Vermont premiere Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 6:30 and 8 pm, screenings at Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center with a reception from 5:30 - 6:30 pm.

Sponsored by five Vermont companies, Ben & Jerry's, Seventh Generation, Green Mountain Coffee, Main Street Landing and Gardener's Supply, tickets are $10 and any profits from tickets will go to support a non-profit foundation known as Both Director Brett Plymale and Paul Tukey will be at a reception from 5:30 - 6:30 pm at the Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center. Tickets are available through or by calling 863-5966.

The feature-length film by Maine director Brett Plymale, "A Chemical Reaction," was described as "rousing" and awarded four stars by the film critics of the Montreal Gazette. The film has also drawn the ire of representatives from the billion-dollar chemical lawn care industry, who called the film's executive producer and narrator, Paul Tukey, an "enviro-maniac" in a widespread email campaign launched Monday, Aug. 31 -- the day of the film's Montreal screening.

Tukey, a former HGTV host and the founder of, appears frequently on screen during "A Chemical Reaction," while interviewing key figures in the anti-pesticide movement in Canada and the U.S. He said his goal in making the film is to create awareness of the health hazards and environmental degradation associated with lawn care chemicals.

"Canadian doctors and the Canadian courts have looked at the toxicity associated with chemical lawn care and have banned these products in much of that nation," said Tukey, author of the Organic Lawn Care Manual (Storey 2007). "Our hope is that people watch the movie and say, 'Canada has banned these products, why do we still use them in the United States?' This issue is relevant to everyone where chemical fertilizers and pesticides run off into the lakes, rivers and streams."

Much of the movie's story focuses on Dr. June Irwin, a dermatologist who spurred the first town in Canada to ban lawn and garden chemical pesticides in 1991. When Hudson, Quebec, told the lawn care giant then known as ChemLawn that it couldn't apply its synthetic chemical products within town borders, it set off a chain of high-profile court cases that culminated in the Canadian Supreme Court in 2001.

The town won the case in a landmark 9-0 decision and the chemical ban soon spread to the entire province of Quebec. Ontario enacted lawn chemical restrictions this past Earth Day and hundreds of other Canadian municipalities have also passed legislation.

For the past several years, Tukey has traveled across the United States and Canada in a relentless quest to tell the Hudson story and urge municipalities to follow suit. He said he is delighted by the support of the Burlington community; he and Plymale, the director, will both be in attendance and offer a question-and-answer session and book signing after each screening.

"The film's themes of community activism, environmental stewardship and political independence will resonate very well in Vermont," said Tukey. "We've always worked closely with Gardener's Supply and we're grateful to Ben & Jerry's, Seventh Generation, Green Mountain Coffee and Gardeners Supply for making this event possible.

"We hope this is just the first of many screenings and heightened awareness across the state," continued Tukey.

ABOUT SAFELAWNS.ORG: is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to reduction in the use of lawn and garden pesticides and synthetic chemical fertilizers. It has produced a series of high-profile campaigns since its inception in 2006.

To view a movie trailer, visit

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