Project Advisor(s) (Students Only)

Dr. Christopher Strunk, Dr. Michael Reisner

Presentation Type (All Applicants)

Poster Presentation

Disciplines (All Applicants)

Human Geography

Description, Abstract, or Artist's Statement

As part of Sustainable Working Landscapes Initiative with Augustana College’s Upper Mississippi Center, students in Urban Design and Environmental Justice (Geography 325) conducted research on Rock Island’s community garden program this fall. The City of Rock Island currently has 21 vacant-lot community gardens and plans to expand the program to 24 gardens in 2019. The purpose of this project was to develop an initial assessment of the community garden program and provide general information about the benefits of urban gardens. Students worked with Dr. Strunk to conduct a survey with current garden program participants and tested soil from 14 gardens for lead contamination. Students collected 3 soil samples from 3 different sections of most gardens (north, middle, south sections). The soil tests showed that sections of 5 different gardens (#3N, #10M, #11N, #11M, #11S, #15N, and #21)have elevated lead levels above the EPA standard of 400 parts per million. The remaining 8 gardens will be tested for soil lead contamination in early 2019. Students also created informational resources about the health benefits of gardens, conducted research about features of successful after-school gardening programs to be discussed with Rock Island-Milan school officials, and developed a proposal for a recipe book that can be used to raise awareness about the diversity of cultural practices in gardens and raise money for small-scale garden grants. Finally, students developed a proposal for a rainwater harvesting system and created designs for a sign for Rock Island Urban Farms and a future community garden site on city property.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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Assessing the Rock Island Community Garden Program

As part of Sustainable Working Landscapes Initiative with Augustana College’s Upper Mississippi Center, students in Urban Design and Environmental Justice (Geography 325) conducted research on Rock Island’s community garden program this fall. The City of Rock Island currently has 21 vacant-lot community gardens and plans to expand the program to 24 gardens in 2019. The purpose of this project was to develop an initial assessment of the community garden program and provide general information about the benefits of urban gardens. Students worked with Dr. Strunk to conduct a survey with current garden program participants and tested soil from 14 gardens for lead contamination. Students collected 3 soil samples from 3 different sections of most gardens (north, middle, south sections). The soil tests showed that sections of 5 different gardens (#3N, #10M, #11N, #11M, #11S, #15N, and #21)have elevated lead levels above the EPA standard of 400 parts per million. The remaining 8 gardens will be tested for soil lead contamination in early 2019. Students also created informational resources about the health benefits of gardens, conducted research about features of successful after-school gardening programs to be discussed with Rock Island-Milan school officials, and developed a proposal for a recipe book that can be used to raise awareness about the diversity of cultural practices in gardens and raise money for small-scale garden grants. Finally, students developed a proposal for a rainwater harvesting system and created designs for a sign for Rock Island Urban Farms and a future community garden site on city property.