Surveys of community garden affiliates and soils in Houston, Texas. Academic Article uri icon


  • Although urban community food gardens have the capacity to strengthen and support neighborhoods in need, the benefits of such operations must be considered in tandem with the potential risks associated with urban environmental contamination. Therefore, research is needed to characterize existing community gardens in urban areas. In the present study, a survey of Houston, TX, community gardeners (N=20) was conducted to better understand their risk-based knowledge and perceptions, current gardening practices, and willingness to implement risk mitigation measures. Soil samples collected from the beds (N=22) and surrounding grounds (N=24) of existing community garden sites in Houston, TX, were screened for trace and heavy metals using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry. The survey indicated that community gardeners had few concerns with regard to potential soilborne hazards and were generally willing to use diverse strategies to reduce potential hazards related to garden soil contamination. Ground and garden bed soil collected from community gardens were found to have excess concentrations of arsenic compared to federal health screening limits. The information provided here provides insight into possible discordance between community gardening risk perception and contamination risk that could be addressed through outreach, engagement, and remediation approaches.

published proceedings

  • Environ Monit Assess

author list (cited authors)

  • Kirsch, K. R., McDonald, T. J., Newman, G. D., Xu, X., & Horney, J. A.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Kirsch, Katie R||McDonald, Thomas J||Newman, Galen D||Xu, Xiaohui||Horney, Jennifer A

publication date

  • January 2022