Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies

Degree Program

Interdisciplinary Studies (Individualized Degree), MS

Committee Chair

Sluss, Tamra

Committee Member

Evans, Lindsey

Committee Member

Whittinghill, Leigh

Author's Keywords

community gardens; urban agriculture; soil health; legacy contaminants


Urban population impact on environmental warming has inspired interest in vegetative coverage to mitigate human influence. Community gardens are proposed to increase green space and access to fresh food, improve health, and quality of life. The potential for soil contamination in post-industrial cities is high presenting a health risk for gardeners. Three Louisville, Kentucky community gardens were chosen for analysis of soil texture, pH, concentration of trace nutrients and metals using Mehlich 1 Extraction. In two community gardens, relative absence of heavy metals suggest they are currently safe for gardening. One garden had a concentration of copper and zinc over the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, and the presence of lead was identified. A soil testing schedule should include transverse sampling where metals are present. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) best management practices should be used, and precautionary measures provided for gardeners.