I haven’t written in awhile about the project. Ari and I have been quite busy. We have been processing plant and soil samples for the last week +. Plant samples have been dried in an oven, ground up (using coffee grinder!) and sent to a lab in Utah to test for elemental composition. Soil samples (all 126) have been dried, sieved to >2mm, and now weighed into 5 and 2g samples in plastic containers. I need to take pictures of these viles because they look like they belong in a medical/hospital lab, with their red caps. Some samples of particular concern were just sent to a lab in Reno where they will test for overall elemental composition as well. In Bryn Mawr’s lab, we will be testing for plant- and human-available Pb. Hopefully we can have our results in one week!
Aside from working inside, I have also been spending time with various gardeners and community members throughout the city, whom I met through a gardener’s workshop at the Horticultural Society. I met about 30 gardeners last week at a woman’s house– all sorts of people! Gardening brings people together– both people who do it as a hobby, as well as people who use gardens as an educational tool in schools.
I spent much of today (despite the rain!) at the Munoz School in North Philly. Ari and I tested the soil from this school (alongside the parking lot) a few weeks ago. But today, this plot became a garden. What a simple, yet beautiful process. Various Puerto Ricans who live in the neighborhood came to help. One thing I re-recognized for myself is that I want to learn Spanish. I was able to communicate with mothers via their sons. But wow, what a community!! I find myself blessed to be able to show up at a garden and be fed, meet wonderful people, and laugh and play with kids– all of whom were strangers to me yesterday.