Category — Soil
A study in peri-urban areas of Nepal’s Bhaktapur district showed the lack of technical know-how among farmers regarding preparation and use of farm yard manure and balanced application of chemical fertilizers.
By Sushil Thapa and Juni Maharjan
May 11, 2013
Nepal is endowed with diverse climatic conditions and agro-biodiversity which offer bundles of opportunity to grow rice and wheat. Though, in recent years especially in urban centers, farmers are motivated towards commercial vegetable production for getting better yield and economic return, rice-wheat based cropping system (RWCS) is still a major part of Nepalese agriculture.
May 17, 2013 1 Comment
Sunflowers, a plant well known for its ability to absorb and mitigate harmful soil toxins through the process of phytoremediation.
By Zachary Goldhammer
April 25, 2013
Past the intersection of 114th and St. Lawrence, across from the House of Hope, a 10,000-seat Baptist megachurch, and over the historic tracks of the Pullman railroad, a two-and-a-half-acre plot of land, has been left—like so many other South Side lots—completely vacant for years. The area’s soil has long been poisoned by waste from its former resident, a Sherwin-Williams paint factory, and the few remains of wildlife that may have once grown alongside the railway have been killed off by pesticides and herbicides that the rail company sprayed along the length of its tracks.
May 6, 2013 No Comments
Promotion video features community garden organizer testimonial
Organic Veggie Soil Mix
“The only true veggie soil available in our area. Specially formulated to maximize vegetable growth. This free draining, nutrient rich soil is high in beneficial organic matter and micro-nutrients. This proprietary blend of premium PH balanced composts and an appropriate amount of sand provides for optimum growing conditions.”
March 29, 2013 No Comments
Manitoba farmers grappling with impacts and legality of municipal herbicide use
By Larry Powell
Feb 19, 2013
There, they became the first and only producers in the province at the time to market certified organic seedlings, such as tomatoes, peppers and medicinal herbs, to fellow growers. Over the years, their rural homestead became a gathering point for others who shared their passion for a simpler way of living.
While no longer officially certified as organic, the two were still producing their plants without the use of chemicals when tragedy struck in 2010. To their horror, as Neufeld put it, “Every single one of our plants curled up grotesquely and died!” He estimates this resulted in a revenue loss of $10,000.
February 20, 2013 No Comments
Tips for growing safely in the city and preventing childhood lead poisoning
University of Cincinnati Health and Medical News
Bill Menrath – Lead expert and Senior Research Associate, UC Department of Environmental Health
Nick Newman, DO – Director, Pediatric Environmental Health and Lead Clinic, cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Lead experts from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center talk about ways to reduce the risk of lead exposure when gardening on city plots.
February 2, 2013 No Comments
The project provides welcome jobs for the city’s farmers, many of whom work in the watery southern district of Xochimilco.
Oct 27th 2012
The 21 million residents of Mexico City have far too much rubbish and not enough healthy food. Now they can swap one for the other. A new monthly market run by the city government takes paper, glass, plastic and aluminium in return for tokens that can be swapped for locally grown food and plants. Since it began in March the “Barter Market” in Chapultepec park has exchanged 140 tonnes of rubbish for 60 tonnes of produce.
November 4, 2012 No Comments
This report provides a concise, practical, and scientifically-based overview of the typical conditions of urban soils, and offers recommendations for how such soils can be rehabilitated or reconditioned to support green infrastructure or urban agriculture.
US Environmental Protection Agency
EPA Publication No. 905R11003
Many urban areas are experiencing a significant increase in the number of vacant properties and a corresponding underutilization of substantial tracts of land. As part of efforts to revitalize these areas, communities are looking at green reuses of vacant properties, including parks, green infrastructure, and urban agriculture. The poor condition of the soils on these properties, however, can often be
a significant impediment to green infrastructure and urban agriculture uses. The soils are often severely compacted, lack sufficient organic matter, and can contain large amounts of construction debris, making them unsuitable as a growing medium.
This report provides a concise, practical, and scientifically-based overview of the typical conditions of urban soils, and offers recommendations for how such soils can be rehabilitated or reconditioned to support green infrastructure or urban agriculture. Reconditioning methods for improving poor quality soils will vary depending on soil conditions and the intended use of the site.
October 16, 2012 No Comments
Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), Canada
Environment Canada Science Horizon Youth Internship Program, Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC), and the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). Ecology Action Centre (EAC)
This study was conducted to assess the level of heavy-metal contamination in the soils of urban gardens in the HRM. Four elements were chosen, and their concentrations in existing and potential urban gardens were measured. Soil samples were taken from specified locations following standard protocols. The following issues were addressed:
Development of survey design, sampling and analytical protocols; Identification of potential and existing urban gardens in the HRM; Selection of heavy metals of concern;
Collection, preparation and analysis of soil samples;
Comparison of the results of this study to studies conducted in other Canadian cities, and to background levels for native soils in Nova Scotia; and Investigation of potential spatial pattern for contamination occurrence within the HRM.
August 24, 2012 1 Comment
Trace metal concentrations in vegetable crops from plantings within inner city neighbourhoods in Berlin, Germany
By Ina Säumela, Iryna Kotsyukb, Marie Hölschera, Claudia Lenkereita, Frauke Webera, Ingo Kowarika
Department of Ecology, Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Botanical Garden of Khmelnitskij National University, Ukraine
Volume 165, June 2012, Pages 124–132
21 March 2012.
Food production by urban dwellers is of growing importance in developing and developed countries. Urban horticulture is associated with health risks as crops in urban settings are generally exposed to higher levels of pollutants than those in rural areas. We determined the concentration of trace metals in the biomass of different horticultural crops grown in the inner city of Berlin, Germany, and analysed how the local setting shaped the concentration patterns.
August 23, 2012 No Comments
“Don’t even dig. Buy a box and new soil. You’re better off with a clean area,” she said. “People have been living there for 300 years. It’s better to build up than dig down.”
By Georgia Kral
August 20, 2012
But all this toiling in the urban soil begs the question: is it safe?
The answer isn’t crystal clear — yet, but Green Thumb, the Parks Department organization that organizes gardens, distributes mulch and compost and offers education about gardening is currently investigating soil quality. In 2009, a consortium made up of Cornell University, Cornell’s Cooperative Extension in NYC, the New York State Department of Health and Green Thumb formed to determine the extent and distribution of metal elements in the soil and whether or not the produce grown in gardens is safe to eat. Just a fraction of the city’s community gardens are part of the study.
August 20, 2012 No Comments
“We need to ask more questions of our food supply, both urban and rural.”
By Eli Zigas
13 Sept 2011
As someone who works on urban agricultural policy, I’m often asked, “Is city-grown food safe?” The question comes from aspiring urban gardeners and concerned eaters alike. And it seems to stem from both a fear of the known and a fear of the unknown.
First, the fear of the known: Common urban contaminants include lead, arsenic, and other heavy metals leaked into soil from old paint, leaded gasoline, modern car exhaust, and industrial land-use.
September 14, 2011 No Comments
Urban farming has become hugely popular in the East Bay, but lead and other heavy metals in the soil pose potential health risks. Meanwhile, there’s little consensus on what to do about it.
By Nate Seltenrich
East Bay Express
Aug 3, 2011
These are the dilemmas that cities and urban gardeners now face. Yet organizations like City Slicker Farms are working hard to develop safe, practical solutions to soil contamination. Since 2005 the organization has set up 170 backyard gardens, including about 140 in West Oakland, all at no cost to the recipients. The initial step is always a soil test. While few lots exhibit truly dangerous levels, most are elevated and require some form of remediation — typically, covering the soil with mulch and growing vegetables in raised beds.
August 3, 2011 3 Comments
Looking at the soil in a vacant lot
By Melissa Iverson M.Sc. (Soil Science)
University of British Columbia – Faculty of Lands and Food Systems
2010, 39 pages
Introduction – How to Use This Guide
Have you ever walked by that vacant lot near your home, work, or school, and thought “I would love to make this place a garden!” If so, then this guide is for you!
The purpose of this guide is to help you answer some of the big questions about the environmental quality of your site. Questions like:
How can I find out if the soil is contaminated?
Is the soil deep enough for my plants to have healthy root systems?
Are there enough nutrients in the soil?
Is the site too shady for a garden?
May 20, 2011 1 Comment
“We’re giving them the land for nothing, We certainly haven’t set aside a budget for cleaning up this land.”
By Luke Brocki
February 18, 2011
The trouble with land is that it’s practically impossible to make more of it. Despite the City of Vancouver’s plans to see its flagship urban farm expand to new locations, SOLEfood farm is getting a hard lesson in real estate: the city’s few empty lots are either slated for development or are long-abandoned and contaminated industrial sites.
“Unfortunately the soils are not usable,” says seasoned farmer and author Michael Ableman, the man in charge of growing food at the social enterprise in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. “We cannot move forward and allow people to grow edible crops in soil that’s going to essentially poison those crops,” he says.
February 19, 2011 1 Comment
Urban Certified Organic?
Researchers from the Department of Geophysical Science working in the area of Food and Environment at The University of Chicago are currently evaluating the application of the National Organic Standards to Urban Agriculture. The U of C team of Geoponicuns are working in collaboration with several national and international organizations, to determine and address the inherent challenges of preserving organic integrity on urban farms.
By Julia Govis:
For questions and/or comments, contact:
Consumer demand for organic food continues to climb according to a 2009 press release by the Organic Trade Association.(1) Growing concerns over food safety and chemical usage in conventionally raised farm products are some of the reasons cited by consumers choosing to purchase certified organic food.
April 1, 2010 No Comments
Health benefits of ‘grow your own’ food in urban areas: implications for contaminated land risk assessment and risk management?
Implications for contaminated land risk assessment and risk management?
By Jonathan R Leake 1 , Andrew Adam-Bradford 2 and Janette E Rigby 3
1 Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
2 Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
3 National Centre for Geocomputation, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland
Published: 21 December 2009
Compelling evidence of major health benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, and outdoor interaction with ‘greenspace’ have emerged in the past decade – all of which combine to give major potential health benefits from ‘grow-your-own’ (GYO) in urban areas. However, neither current risk assessment models nor risk management strategies for GYO in allotments and gardens give any consideration to these health benefits, despite their potential often to more than fully compensate the risks. Although urban environments are more contaminated by heavy metals, arsenic, polyaromatic hydrocarbons and dioxins than most rural agricultural areas, evidence is lacking for adverse health outcomes of GYO in UK urban areas.
March 30, 2010 No Comments
A Cabbage Patch for City Hall. Last year, Baltimore City Hall replaced its traditional flower gardens with vegetable beds to help serve a local soup kitchen. But not all went as planned. Anne Marie Chaker reports on lessons learned and plans for this year’s crop.
Attack of the Rotten Tomatoes
By Anne Marie Chaker
Wall Street Journal
March 10, 2010
The city of Baltimore replaced its flower beds in front of city hall with vegetables last year. The goal, says designer Angela Treadwell-Palmer, was to show that vegetable gardens could be attractive and to grow harvests to donate to a local soup kitchen. But the local charity reported that some crops—particularly beets, kohlrabi and eggplant—weren’t appetizing to people.
March 11, 2010 No Comments
By Charles C. Mann
By 2030, when today’s toddlers have toddlers of their own, 8.3 billion people will walk the Earth; to feed them, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates, farmers will have to grow almost 30 percent more grain than they do now.
“With eight billion people, we’re going to have to start getting interested in soil,” he said. “We’re simply not going to be able to keep treating it like dirt.”
August 28, 2008 No Comments
“The tests were performed as part of the health department’s analysis of soil samples from all of Montreal’s nearly 100 community gardens. Beausoleil said about 30 gardens city-wide are contaminated. However, only 11 gardens have been closed – nine of them last year. The other affected gardens will be made public this year by the boroughs in which they are located, Beausoleil said.
“We can tell you right now, there is no worry for your health as a result of eating vegetables from this soil,” Monique Beausoleil, a toxicologist with the department — She explained that most of the contaminants were found in soil lower than the roots that most typical vegetables grow, so their absorption rate was very low.”
May 22, 2008 No Comments
Paper produced for the Department of Geography, Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria (4731 words)
“— a system of land use that is being practiced in metropolitan Kano will be considered. This system of land use that has been going on for centuries involves the use of stream water to irrigate land at the banks. Principal of these streams are Challawa, Getsi, Jakara and Salanta. The main objective is to produce fruits and vegetables for the consumption of the city dwellers. This system of land use has been called by Binns et al (2003), by the name urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA).”
May 15, 2008 No Comments