Food Well Alliance
Soil Festival 2017

Saturday, May 6, 2017

1:00pm - 5:00pm

Truly Living Well's Collegetown Farm

324 Lawton Street Southwest Atlanta, GA, 30310

This year, Food Well Alliance is bringing community gardeners, school gardeners, backyard gardeners, urban farmers and the local food community together for our annual Soil Festival as we kick off International Compost Awareness Week (May 7- 13).

Soil Festival 2017 will raise awareness of the benefits of using compost to improve and maintain high quality soil, to grow healthy food, to reduce the use of fertilizer and pesticides and to improve water quality and protect the environment.

During this year’s festivities, dig in and meet fellow gardeners and visit all of the exhibitors who will be sharing resources and tools to help you enjoy the successes of gardening. We will also be offering bags of compost to attendees and registering community gardens for cubic yards of organic compost for their gardens.

Join us on May 6, 2017 at Truly Living Well's Collegetown Farm to get the resources you need for your garden while meeting fellow growers and local food enthusiasts. Here are some of the exciting activities to look forward to during this year’s event:

  • Take home bags of compost, and register to win a cubic yard of compost for your garden

  • Take a gardening, composting or garden-based education workshop

  • Bring soil from your garden for complimentary testing

  • Invite students to dig in some fun activities about gardening and soil

  • Get technical assistance and answers to your garden questions

  • Enjoy delicious locally-grown food and drinks

During the festival, we will also be offering you the chance to bring a sample of your soil for TWO complimentary soil tests. Learn more information about Soil Testing below:

  1. Get information on your soil at the SoilSHOP! Public health and soil experts can do a free, anonymous XRF screening of your soil to provide you with immediate information regarding lead content.  The following links provides information about how to collect a soil sample for the SoilSHOP. Here's an easy infographic(), and a step by step video "How to Collect a Soil Sample".

  2. The UGA Extension office will be present and able to take your soil sample for lab analysis. (The lab analysis is free for selected community gardens; costs start at $6 for a routine test for nutrients and pH). Results can be mailed or emailed to you within 7-10 days.

Come out with your fellow garden members, family, friends and neighbors to learn how each of us can help to preserve soil and continue growing healthier communities at Soil Festival.

Get your soil tested at the Festival

During the Healthy Soil, Healthy Community Festival, you are able to get your garden soil tested in two different ways.

  1. Get information on your soil at the SoilSHOP! Public health and soil experts can do a free, anonymous XRF screening of your soil to provide you with immediate information regarding lead content.

  2. The UGA Extension office will be present and able to take your soil sample for lab analysis. (The lab analysis is free for selected community gardens; costs start at $6 for a routine test for nutrients and pH) . Results can be mailed or emailed to you within 7-10 days.

What to bring for the soil test?

For the SoilSHOP (testing for lead content), bring a dry, rock-free, soil sample in a plastic, ziplock bag (about 2 cups soil) and get your soil screened while you enjoy other activities.

Collect a sample from 5-10 spots (6” deep) within your area of interest. Mix the soil, remove rocks,

and air dry it; do not use a flame to dry the soil. See pdf for details.

Only about 2 cups of soil is needed per sample. 1-3 sample bags per person please.

For the UGA lab test (nutritional content), sampling is very similar as described above.

Detailed information you can also find in this document.

Why should I test my soil?

  UGA soil testing bags

UGA soil testing bags

When you want to increase plant vigor and yield in your garden, the nutritional content of your soil is extremely important. Healthy soil— full of microorganisms and organic matter— can decrease common gardening issues with pests, plant diseases, low yield, and soil drying between watering.

The UGA soil test report will provide you with the necessary information to amend your soil. You can receive a lab test that will give you information on the basic nutrients that plants need to grow well: Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium, as well as trace nutrients and pH. You can also have a test for organic matter, which can show you how much living matter and water-retaining capacity your soil has. UGA experts will be at the event to take your soil samples, answer your questions,  and explain to you how to interpret your lab tests.

 Soil XRF Machine

Soil XRF Machine

Depending on the past use of your growing site, and how close it is to the highway, you may want to have your soil tested or at least screened for lead. Historically, lead was used in paint and in gasoline.  It does not wash away, but it remains in the soil.  It can be concentrated near old buildings, the dripline of roofs, near highways, and sometimes in fill dirt brought in from offsite.  Children under the age of 6 years are most at risk. Young children spend a lot of time on the ground and tend to put their hands or other objects (which may be contaminated with lead dust) into their mouths.  

The SoilSHOP partners will help to explain what the soil screening result means, how it compares to other soils tested in the area, and the best ways you can garden safely in your soil.