What are those black jugs and coloured bowls all about?
We're working with researchers at Trent University to look at the effects of heavy metals on plants in our edible forest gardens.  Matthew Porter, working with Drs. Eric Sager and David Beresford, plans to complete a MSc. thesis based on this research. The long-term goal is to confirm whether it is safe to grow and eat food planted directly in the ground (versus in raised beds) at all of our garden locations. 

In 2021, we collected samples of soil and various types of produce from six of Sudbury's edible forest gardens (Delki Dozzi, Elm West, Hanmer, Walden, Chelmsford and Twin Forks). Analysis is in progress and further data collection in 2022 will assist with interpretation of the results.
The black plastic jugs you see in the gardens you see this year collect rainwater, which will be analyzed to determine levels of various heavy metals. They will stay out all summer and fall, with water (and deposited heavy metals) being collected for measurement every two weeks. This will give a snapshot of metals currently being deposited via air to help with analysis of metals in soil, which has been deposited over a much longer time period going back more than 100 years. 

Meanwhile, the coloured bowls are part of related but separate research by undergraduate student Kaleigh Mooney, under direction of Dr. Beresford. also working with Dr. Sager.  The purpose is to look at possible effects of heavy metals on pollinating insects. The bowls go out for about a half day once a week, filled with (non-toxic to people and animals) anti-freeze. Pollinating insects are attracted to the coloured bowls and the sweet sticky liquid. The anti-freeze preserves them until they can be identified later in the season. 
Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions!