With urban farms, some caution is in order

April 23, 2011

I'm all for urban farms and victory plots ("Urban farms taking root," April 21), but is anyone checking the soil for lead and other contaminants? The comment about turning "trash-strewn lots into beds of nourishing produce" is quite scary.

Many lots are dumping grounds for used oil, car batteries, and who-knows-what. The lead level in my backyard soil is nearly three times what is considered safe, and that's just from ambient lead pollution in Baltimore. As a result, all my vegetables need to be grown in pots. I'd approach lot-grown vegetables warily, especially if you are buying (or growing) for children.

Christopher Wanjek, Baltimore

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