05 Aug '11, 1pm

In Oakland, efforts to encourage urban farming tangle with concerns over soil safety. How safe is your soil?

In Oakland, efforts to encourage urban farming tangle with concerns over soil safety. How safe is your soil?

Cross-posted from East Bay Express . When Laura Blakeney moved into her house in West Oakland, Calif. last year, she was thrilled to have a backyard. Her young daughter loved playing in the dirt. And all that space seemed perfect for a vegetable and herb garden. What she didn't see was the danger lurking in her soil. To help get the garden started, a neighbor suggested Blakeney contact City Slicker Farms, a West Oakland nonprofit that advocates for urban agriculture and installs backyard gardens in homes throughout the Bay Area. After Blakeney called to request a garden, City Slicker visited her house to take four soil samples -- standard protocol for every garden they install. The results were surprising: nearly 500 parts per million (ppm) of lead, more than twice the level deemed safe by the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board. Built in 1889, the two-s...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/urban-agriculture/2011-08-05-how-saf...

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