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Healthy Soils, Healthy Communities
A research and education partnership with urban gardeners.

Led by Cornell University, Cornell University Cooperative Extension-NYC, NYS Department of Health, and GreenThumb/NYC Department of Parks and Recreation.




Urban community gardens provide many benefits, yet garden soils can contain contaminants. The Healthy Soils project exists to help urban gardeners and other community members understand potential risks associated with soil contamination and implement healthy gardening practices. More information and project resources are listed below.


NEW Lead and Other Metals in New York City Community Garden Soils
The Healthy Soils, Healthy Communities team published a study of metals contamination in NYC community garden soils in the April 2014 issue of the journal Environmental Pollution. The study, which involved testing more than 500 soil samples from 54 community gardens, found that levels of lead and other metals, while higher than background levels found in rural soils, were similar to levels found in other studies of urban soils in NYC and other cities. (click for more)

Urban Soil Contaminants and Soil Testing

Sources and Types of Contaminants • Collecting Garden Samples Understanding Soil Test Results

Healthy Gardening Practices

"What Gardeners Can Do" and other resources

Healthy Soils Project Information and Research Manuscripts

More project information and research findings

Healthy Soils in the Media

Additional Resources for Urban Gardeners

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