ACCD works with citizens and community partners to better understand the challenges of working with urban soil in farm and garden projects.
Soil is an essential resource. While often overlooked in urban environments, soil plays a central role in the functioning of healthy towns and cities. Urban soils are the base from which natural and constructed environments are built. Urban soil plays an important role in infiltrating stormwater, especially in developed areas with impervious surfaces such as roads and buildings.
Urban soil also provides a foundation for recreation in playgrounds, parks, soccer fields and gardens that give children and adults spaces to enjoy the outdoors.
The Urban Soils Program focuses on lead and contaminant research, on-site testing and technical assistance. ACCD’s expertise also extends to urban farm and garden resources, policy planning and networking.
ACCD offers the following services:
- Soil contamination testing for community projects and free testing events
- Soil contamination mapping, remediation and research projects
- Urban Agriculture: A Zoning Guide for Municipalities
Urban soils also pose a unique set of limitations and risks that are important to understand. Urban soils reflect the legacy of human activity and environmental degradation. Understanding the issues that face urban soils, as well as the strategies for improving their health and ecosystem services, will allow communities to gain the most from a key urban resource.
The best way to know what is in soil is to test it. Several laboratories will test soil for fertility, structure and possible heavy metal contamination.
ACCD most frequently uses Penn State Agriculture Analytics Laboratory
for soil testing. This lab provides fertility testing and recommendations for agricultural soil amendments, as well as heavy metal and environmental testing. Reach out to ACCD for technical support and assistance with understanding the soil sampling and lab submission process.