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Keeping Philadelphia’s soil safe

Stephen P. Peterson has been examining the presence of lead and other potentially harmful heavy metals in the soil in Fairmount Park—the largest inner-city park system in the U.S. and the site of some urban agriculture. Photo by Joseph V. Labolito.

Older industrial cities like Philadelphia tend to have higher lead and heavy-metals concentrations in their soil than the national average.

By Preston Moretz
Temple University
News Center


“Everywhere I went in the park—no matter how old the area was or how dense the woods were—the levels of lead and other metals were well above Philadelphia’s normal level, which is already above the national average,” he said.

All but one of the urban gardens tested were in raised planting beds where the soil had been brought in from elsewhere, so heavy-metals levels were low. “The Fairmount Park people are doing it right bringing in fresh topsoil, but these raised beds can still see their lead levels increase, because they can be influenced by the areas around them,” he explained.

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April 19, 2014   Comments Off on Keeping Philadelphia’s soil safe

Big city farming in Chicago

Green goodies: Farm supervisor Maureen Maitland works with micro greens at Urban Till in Chicago. David Pierini/staff photographer.

Neighborhood-based urban farm aims to revolutionize food supply chain

By Timothy Inklebarger
Austin Weekly News
April 8th, 2014


The owners of Urban Till, which operates the 30,000-square-foot urban farm, opened their doors to a select group of about 100 restaurateurs, chefs, sustainable food advocates and industry insiders for the first time on March 21. The facility gives them a glimpse into what the budding entrepreneurs say is the future of farming

Participants met at a bar in Chicago’s West Loop and were bused out to the location, which Urban Till’s owners want to remain secret for now. They were treated with gourmet delicacies and high-end cocktails using the farm’s myriad variety of greens and herbs.

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April 19, 2014   Comments Off on Big city farming in Chicago