Soil Screening & Outreach Events

The New York State Department of Health works with federal, state, and local agencies to host soil screening and outreach events that raise awareness of the potential for exposure to contaminants in soil. At these events, community members can bring soil samples from their yards and gardens to be checked for lead. Lead is often found in urban soils and near older buildings, and it can be particularly harmful to children. Residents are given an interpretation of their soil results, as well as access to educational materials on healthy gardening, preventing lead exposure, and more.

picture of a soil kitchen

Locations of screening and outreach events have included Staten Island, Newburgh, and Albany, and Utica.

These screening and outreach events were inspired by the original Soil Kitchen, held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 2011. That project turned an abandoned storefront into the Soil Kitchen, where citizens could bring samples of soil from their neighborhoods to be checked for metals. In exchange for providing soil samples, patrons of the Soil Kitchen were provided with free soup, an interpretation of their soil results, and access to workshops on subjects such as urban agriculture and composting.

Read a scientist's blog about Soil Kitchens.