Thursday, May 3, 2012 03:30 pm
Any experienced gardener knows the value of good soil. But what if the soil is contaminated with toxins? The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency plans to test three community garden plots in Springfield to make sure they’re safe for growing food. The three plots make up the Springfield Community Garden Family Fit Center, run by Vera Garrett of Springfield. The nonprofit garden on Springfield’s east side provides fresh produce for the surrounding neighborhood and teaches participants about healthy eating and healthy living. Garrett purchased the lots from their previous owner, who demolished the crumbling houses that once stood there. Old buildings can sometimes leach lead and other toxins into the soil, so IEPA will test the plots at 1515 E. Miller Street, 1531 E. Miller and 718 N. 16th Street. A previous testing date was canceled because of rain, but IEPA hopes to test the plots next week. Unless the buildings that used to stand on those plots were used to process toxic chemicals – a pretty unlikely scenario – there’s probably not much to worry about. Still, better safe than sorry.