Applications have opened to West Shore gardeners for free tests to check for the presence of heavy metals in their soil.
Residents across the Capital Regional District who are growing food or are interested in starting a food garden are eligible.
“A key piece of this project is raising awareness, sharing information to inspire safe and healthy food production here in the city and empowering people with the necessary skills to build the health of their soil if contaminants are found,” the Victoria Compost and Conservation Education Society website states.
“Urban soils can sometimes contain heavy metals and other contaminants as a result of our industrial past and present,” they write. They add, toxic soil are a concern for urban food gardens due to the hazard of veggies and fruits taking up the contaminants.
More than 400 free soil tests have been provided as part of the Healing City Soils initiative, according to the Victoria education and awareness group. The program is funded in partnership by Royal Roads University and the Victoria Foundation and was launched in 2016.
The tests are offered on a first-come-first-serve basis. An interactive map on their website shows general locations of the testings. You can find both the map and the application at compost.bc.ca.