UBC Undergraduate Research

Potentially harmful contaminants in urban, community gardens in New Westminster Stewart, Amy


In the past decade, as the problems of increasing urbanization, population and density in cities throughout the world grow rapidly, more and more people have turned to the solution of community urban gardens. While community gardens have been shown to have economic, social and environmental benefits, there are some concerns. “These environmental and human health concerns caused by increasingly close soil-human interactions, along with the “non-negligible” portion of the food supply provided through urban agriculture in both developing and developed countries, have led to an increased importance of urban and suburban soil assessment and management.” (Iveson, 2006) The New Westminster Community Gardening Society is a group that plans to start various community gardens throughout New Westminster. While the organization is very eager, to develop these gardens they are concerned about the potential environmental and health risks associated with urban farming. In my research paper I worked with this community organization to explore this potential threat. The main question of my research was in essence, how ‘safe’, nutritious and healthy is the produce that the gardens are currently producing? The gardeners want to know if there are any harmful effects to their great initiative , caused by pollutants in the area in New Westminster; located on the Burrard Peninsula, on the north bank of the Fraser River, 19 kilometres southeast of the City of Vancouver proper.

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