Feature

Free Soil Testing At East Austin Garden Fair

April 8, 2017
9:00 am
Parke Zaragoza 2608 E Gonzales Street 78702

AUSTIN, Texas— Find out what’s in your garden soil at the Soil Kitchen! Austin Brownfields experts will be on hand April 8-9 to accept soil samples to be screened for heavy metals and tested for nutrients—an essential task to ensure soil is safe and effective for growing food crops. To help educate Austinites about services available via the City’s Brownfields Revitalization Office, the Soil Kitchen event highlights the similarities between screening backyard garden soil and testing commercial land for possible contaminants before future development. “Some urban soils can hold contamination, mostly from past use of leaded gasoline and lead-based paint. As a result, residents—especially pre-school age children—risk exposure to lead and other metals in the soil,” said Christine Whitney, program manager for Brownfields Revitalization Office. “One way we can reduce this risk is through conducting a free Soil Kitchen. The idea behind this event is that Austin residents can have their food garden soil tested for nutrients (present or lacking) and simultaneously analyze their samples for any risks from heavy metals. It’s free, anonymous and accessible. In the process, we help teach Austin’s urban gardeners how to grow food that’s safe to eat,” said Whitney. The testing is confidential. Gardeners simply list their initials and the closest intersection on their quart size sample bags. A number is assigned to the sample and the gardener can look up the number online around mid-May. On Saturday, April 8, the Soil Kitchen will coincide with the free East Austin Garden Fair . The Fair includes a variety of enjoyable activities ranging from building a rain barrel, keeping bees to raising backyard chickens. Sponsored by Austin Brownfields Revitalization Office part of Austin Resource Recovery, the Soil Kitchen is a perfect opportunity for backyard, school and community food gardens to learn more about safely and effectively growing great, healthy food. For more information about the Soil Kitchen and soil sampling, please visit: www.austintexas.gov/soilkitchen. The Soil Kitchen will be open at Parque Zaragoza, 2608 Gonzales Street, Austin, 78702: Saturday, April 8, 2017 - 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sunday, April 9, 2017 - 9 a.m. – Noon

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