ABSTRACT

Eight soil samples were collected from a small urban land plot located at 1700 North Sixth Street Harrisburg, PA 17102 and the concentration of copper, nickel, zinc, and lead in existing soil was determined. The concentrations of these metals were compared to EPA standards to assess soil suitability for the development of a successful urban garden. Samples were prepared by acid digestion and then analyzed using atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS). The concentration of copper was found to be 11 ± 4 mg/kg at the low end and 46 ± 25 mg/kg at the high end, nickel concentrations ranged from 11 ± 4 mg/kg to 20 ± 3 mg/kg, lead concentrations from 26 ± 1 mg/kg to 402+ mg/kg, and the zinc concentrations ranged from 30 ± 6 mg/kg to 216 ± 166 mg/kg. All concentrations, with the exception lead, were below the EPA recommended limits for heavy metals in home and vegetable gardens. This study also discusses the benefits of service learning for developing relationships between academic institutions and community partners as well as the role of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in urban areas.

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