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City of Toronto - Soil Assessment Guide
For Community Gardens
Urban gardening can provide broad health, environmental, social and economic benefits. The City of Toronto recognizes that urban gardening plays an important role in making Toronto a healthier city. In 2007, City Council directed City staff to promote local food production and remove barriers to urban gardening (City Council Climate Change Action Plan, 2007), and in 2009, City Council adopted a recommendation to support strategies and initiatives that will achieve the overall goal of expanding opportunities for local food production and other urban agricultural activities in the City of Toronto (TEO, 2009).
Often the land available for increasing the urban land base for community gardening are lands that are vacant, abandoned, or previously used for purposes other than food production. As urban gardening expands in Toronto there will be a growing interest to garden on these lands. Previous and current activities on or next to these sites might have resulted in contamination of the soil.
Toronto Public Health (TPH) in collaboration with Parks, Forestry and Recreation (PF&R) and in consultation with the Toronto Environment Office (TEO) developed an urban gardening soil assessment guide to assist City staff in the assessment of potential sites for community and allotment gardens. The guide is a decision-support tool used to identify areas that may be contaminated but could be suitable for food production and to identify appropriate exposure reduction actions based on the condition of the site.