Designing Lead Safe Yards and Vegetable Gardens

ST. JOHN’S – On Saturday, May 12, Common Ground/St. John’s Safer Soil and LeadNL will host a free public workshop on ‘Designing Lead Safe Yards and Vegetable Gardens.’ The workshop will be led by Luisa Oliveira, Boston-based landscape architect, city planner and initiator of the ‘Safer Soil’ Program that began in New England and has been emulated here in St. John’s. Luisa will help workshop participants to prepare landscaping plans for yards or community gardens in areas affected by soil lead, in order to make them safe for children and for growing food.

The event is co-sponsored by FEASt (Food Education Action St. John’s), The Newfoundland and Labrador Environment Network, The Newfoundland and Labrador Food Security Network and Landscape NL.

Recent studies conducted Dr. Trevor Bell of Memorial University’s Department of Geography have found elevated lead levels in the soil of St. John’s.  Dr. Bell is co- founder of LeadNL, which conducted a 2011 study of blood lead levels of children in the capital city. “While the findings of this most recent study were encouraging in that they did not indicate any incidences of blood lead poisoning, the importance of lead safe gardening practices must be reinforced to ensure that children are protected from the harmful effects of soil lead,” says Dr. Bell, who will introduce the session on May12th.


Free Public Workshop

When: Saturday, May 12, 2012, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Where: St. John’s City Hall – Foran/Greene Room


Luisa Oliveira, Senior Planner for Landscape Design at the City of Somerville, MA

Dr. Trevor Bell, Professor of Geography, Memorial University; Principal Investigator, LeadNL

Lori Heath, Executive Director, Common Ground;  Project Coordinator, St. John’s Safer Soil



Participants in the Saturday workshop are asked (though not required) to bring a scaled drawing of their back yard or community garden, with solar direction noted. Sample plans will also be available. Seating is limited and pre-registration is encouraged. Refreshments will be provided.

Luisa Oliveira, Dr. Trevor Bell and Lori Heath will be available for media interviews during the days leading up to the event. To arrange an interview, for more information, or to register for the workshop, please contact Lori Heath at 738-7542, 753-3594 or .


St. John’s Safer Soil conducts education and capacity building activities to promote

lead safe gardening and recreation in urban areas. It is a project of Common Ground, a non-profit organization

which promotes environmentally and economically sustainable agriculture and community development.

Contact Lori Heath at 738-7542, 753-3594 or or visit our website at for more information.

This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Federal Department of the Environment, the Home Depot – Evergreen Rebuilding Nature Grant, The Home Depot – Evergreen Green Grant and the Wellness Coalition – Avalon East. The views expressed herein are solely those of Common Ground.

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