The land

P1000567We are farming a lovely lot on the southwest corner of N Williams and N Cook just south of Fremont. This once vacant land has had an interesting history. As the story goes, the property used to house the Nurnberg Scientific Company until it burned down in a fire in 1967.  Sounds like this wouldn’t be a good site to grow food? Well, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) did an extensive multi-year study in the mid 1990’s on the site and found little. Here is the summary of the study and if you want to read more, here’s the final report from that study.

Additionally I’ve tested for several heavy metals.

All test results are within normal and reasonable limits, based on Background Levels of Metals in Soils in Oregon (page 4, Portland Basin) and the DEQ Risk Based Concentration levels (the residential levels for “Soil Ingestion, Dermal Contact, and Inhalation”).  Below are the results of the metals tests:

Lead  (2010)

Arsenic, Cadmium, and Chromium (2010)

Arsenic, Beryllium, Lead, and Mercury (2010)

From this research, I feel confident about the safety of the produce we grow from this land.

Here are additional resources and studies dealing with urban agriculture and possibly contaminated soils.

UC Davis outlines trace elements and urban gardens (PDF)

Cornell Guide to Soil Testing and Interpreting Results (PDF)

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