The Healing City Soils Project is a partnership between the Compost Education Centre, DIY Fungi and Royal Roads University. Thanks to generous funding from Victoria Foundation, this project has allowed free soil testing access for heavy metals to people interested in growing food in the communities of Victoria and Esquimalt. Our soils are living, breathing ecosystems and the foundation from which over 90% of our food comes from, yet its significance is often overlooked. With growing concerns over food security and food access, many people are turning to their own backyards and boulevards to grow food for their families. To establish a thriving and productive urban food garden, there is a need to ‘grow your soil’ before you ‘grow your food’, to better understand this complex and fascinating world under our feet.
Given Victoria’s industrial past, testing your soil for heavy metals is an important first step in urban food production. The soil test results will be uploaded onto an interactive online map in the fall of 2016 to create a picture of soil health throughout the city. This map will be paired with workshops at the Compost Education Centre and a series of factsheets to empower people with the knowledge and skills needed to grow food safely and heal the soil with compost, plants and mushrooms.
Bridging urban agriculture, composting, food literacy, ecological restoration and bioremediation, this project brings together the municipalities of Victoria and Esquimalt, local post-secondary institutions, food security organizations and people who are interested in growing food and building the soil beneath their feet. For more information on this exciting initiative, check out our webpage