Episode 170: Urban Agriculture

City Slicker Farms

Oakland residents tend to a backyard garden as part of the annual Throw Down for the Town service festival. Image courtesy of Flickr user Ella Baker Center. Photo by David Hanks.

City dwellers across the country are picking up shovels and burying seeds, part of a burgeoning movement to bring fresh, local produce back to urban areas. But before you join their ranks, stop and check your soil. It might be flecked with dangerous lead. On today's episode of Distillations we look at the challenges of urban agriculture and the innovative ways to solve them. First producer Charlie Mintz visits West Oakland to reveal how an EPA-funded program is leeching lead out of backyard gardens using hundreds of tons of discarded fishbones. Then we sit down with Graceful Gardens' Alice Edgerton and Fair Food Philadelphia's Alex Jones to learn about how to best make an urban garden grow. 

Show Clock

00:00 Opening Credits
00:30 Introduction
01:23 Fishbone Remediation
10:24 Interview: Alex Jones and Alice Edgerton
17:48 Closing Credits


Special thanks to Charlie Mintz, Alex Jones, Alice Edgerton, and Jennifer Dionisio for researching this show. 

For more about fishbone remediation, visit

Our theme music is composed by Andrew Chalfen. Additional music includes "Caps In Stems (Instrumental)," by Tab from the Free Music Archive, "Sunwheel Dance," by James Tucker and James Swafford from Music Alley, and "The Garden Song," performed by John Denver from BMI.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Ella Baker Center. Photo by David Hanks.

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