Skip to main content

Project studies suitability, safety of Sudbury soil for growing food

Sudbury Shared Harvest is seeking ‘garden host’ volunteers for research into the safety of growing food in the city.

The project is looking into heavy metals in food grown in Sudbury's urban soils. It's a partnership involving Trent University and Sudbury Shared Harvest.

The non-profit group is looking for people who already have existing home vegetable garden plots to volunteer some space.

“So if you have a vegetable garden directly in the ground not in raised beds,” said Carrie Regenstreif of Sudbury Shared Harvest.

“We are looking for about a square metre to borrow it for about six weeks. And we will be planting some lettuce and radish plants and then collecting them back up for analysis.”

While the Sudbury Soil Study released in 2008 found little health risk associated with metals in the environment, the group wants more in-depth information about growing food in local soils.

“Very specifically, looking intensively at plants,” said Regenstreif.

“A lot of different plants and a lot of different plant parts to determine whether certain plants are taking up more metals than others and whether there are certain things that maybe are not safe to grow or certain areas we shouldn't be growing in.”

In a statement, Public Health Sudbury and Districts said the

Sudbury Soils Study found that the concentration of certain metals was higher in some vegetables grown in soils, with elevated metal levels in Sudbury compared to other Ontario locations.

But the concentration and frequency of consumption do not pose a risk to people eating these vegetables.

The new research project involving Sudbury Shared Harvest and researchers at Trent University is to test local soils and produce for heavy metals.

o    Download our app to get local alerts on your device

o    Get the latest local updates right to your inbox

“The concern is that if the edible part of a particular plant is taking up excessive amounts of heavy metals it can harm, there are connections to human health that are known to exist,” said Regenstreif.

Shared Harvest Sudbury said the goal of the research is to develop guidelines for the safety of growing food locally. Top Stories


OPINION New to Canada? Here's your guide to purchasing or renting your first home

Navigating Canada's real estate market can be daunting for new immigrants, especially amid an affordable housing crisis. Personal finance columnist Christopher Liew outlines the documentation newcomers will need to rent or purchase a home in Canada, and some key expenses to budget for.

Stay Connected