A Soil Health Urban Farm Tour, which will feature three established urban farms and focus on soil health management, is scheduled for April 23 in Gary.
“There’s a growing interest in urban agriculture and what it means to grow in urban soil. There’s different practices and strategies related to the soil. We will tour farms, but the focus is on urban farm growing and soil management,” Rebecca Koetz, who is the Lake County Purdue University Extension urban and home agriculture educator, explained.
Soil contamination from industry, business and construction sites can be common to urban agriculture. Growing in containers is one way to get around the contamination, but soil tests for heavy metals are still important, she added.
“This is the first event of its kind. With more attention coming to urban agriculture, we have some new soil health specialists who will attend the event as well as some other urban agriculture educators,” Koetz said.
She also encouraged urban farmers and community gardeners to attend the tour.
Farms to be toured include Faith CDC & Orchard, The Mystical Farm and Peace Farms.
“The farmers in Gary are bringing urban farming and its needs to the forefront and this event is a part of that,” Carl Weatherspoon, who is an urban farmer at The Mystical Farm in Gary, explained.
The interactive and educational tour will also focus on meeting the needs of current and prospective urban farmers.
Topics discussed will include composting, vermicomposting, container growing, soil testing, bioremediation, high tunnel production and produce safety.
Cost is $30 and includes lunch.
Deadline to register is April 15 and you can register here.
This is a self-drive tour and COVID-19 regulations will be enforced.