Click the image to get a close look!

This collaborative initiative between University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), University of Illinois-Extension, and Advocates for Urban Agriculture is building tools to inform stakeholder decision-making and develop evidence-based guidelines to mitigate potential soil risks to food production in Chicago. This project:

  • Uses citizen-science to develop tools to identify and manage soil lead contamination
  • Will develop a publicly available map of soil heavy metal contamination across Chicago
  • Tests and identifies ‘best bets’ to avoid and mitigate soil lead, including safe crop choices and effective mitigation treatments

Have soil sample(s) screened for lead for FREE from your urban garden, farm, or yard! Here is a downloadable and printable flyer for soil sampling instructions. In-ground soil samples (i.e., not raised beds) preferred, but all samples welcomed. Options for screening:

(1) Bring samples to an AUA or UIUC event or (2) Mail samples to Attn: Chicago Safe Soils Initiative, 1011 Plant Sciences Laboratory, 1201 S Dorner Dr, Urbana, IL 61801. Please include this sampling form.

Help us build tools to mitigate lead and map Chicago’s urban soils! Join us and please share widely! Contact us at or with questions and for more details.