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The Hidden Dangers of Lead in Urban Gardens

leadcity
Click on image for larger file. Fig. 1. A vacant lot urban farm highlighting abiotic challenges of urban agriculture, including: elevated atmospheric concentrations of industrial pollutants (A), elevated atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases from traffic emissions (B), contaminated storm water runoff (C), Pb-contaminated soils adjacent to aging housing stock (e.g., paint chips) (D), soils contaminated by heavy metals and/or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (E), unpredictable access to municipal water sources (F), potentially contaminated recycled water sources (e.g., rainwater harvesting) (G), reduced light and wind speed due to the built environment (H), increased mechanical heat (e.g., air conditioners) (I), and increased surface temperatures from pavement and rooftops (J). Credits: This illustration from Sam Worman’s study shows the myriad challenges of urban gardeners, including lead sources.

When Ryan Kuck’s young twins both tested positive for elevated lead levels in their blood he was worried — but not surprised.

By Karen Pinchin
Modern Farmer
July 28, 2014

Excerpt:

When it comes to remediation, there are a few ways to deal with the problem. One is cap-and-fill (covering over an existing lot with cement, then trucking in soil and building a garden overtop), which is preferred by many municipal governments, simply because it buries the problem, says Wortman. There is also phytoremediation, in which plants slightly better at absorbing lead, like mustards and sunflowers, are planted on vacant land, then harvested and disposed of over a long period of time. While this technique is trendy right now, probably because it feels like “using nature to heal nature,” Wortman says it isn’t practical or effective.

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August 5, 2014   Comments Off on The Hidden Dangers of Lead in Urban Gardens

Urban agriculture: a global analysis of the space constraint to meet urban vegetable demand

popworld
Figure 1. PAN a (Percentage of urban Area Needed) to meet the actual consumption of vegetables by urban dwellers through UA (target A). Click on image for larger file.

UA should also be actively promoted in smaller cities, rather than focussing exclusively on large cities, because smaller urban areas actually comprise the majority of the total urban area.

By F Martellozzo1, J-S Landry1, D Plouffe1, V Seufert1, P Rowhani and N Ramankutty1
Environmental Research Letters Volume 9 Number 6
Published 18 June 2014

Abstract

Urban agriculture (UA) has been drawing a lot of attention recently for several reasons: the majority of the world population has shifted from living in rural to urban areas; the environmental impact of agriculture is a matter of rising concern; and food insecurity, especially the accessibility of food, remains a major challenge. UA has often been proposed as a solution to some of these issues, for example by producing food in places where population density is highest, reducing transportation costs, connecting people directly to food systems and using urban areas efficiently. However, to date no study has examined how much food could actually be produced in urban areas at the global scale.

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Detroit’s 17th annual urban gardens and farms tour

17th

Get down on the farm without leaving the city on Detroit tours

By Angelica Euseary
Detroit Free Press
Aug 4, 2014

Excerpt:

There’s an opportunity to get an up-close look at nearly 40 of Detroit’s finest community farms and gardens Wednesday at the 17th annual urban gardens and farms tour.

Bus and guided bike tours will take people to gardens affiliated with churches, community groups, city residents and urban agriculture advocates as part of a three-hour event presented by Keep Growing Detroit, an urban agriculture promotion, education and support group.

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