The branches of the apple tree in Michael Armstrong’s backyard are heavy with fruit, but the west-end man refuses to eat his bountiful harvest.

“My neighbourhood has a long history of contamination,” Armstrong says of the South Junction Triangle, once a highly industrialized area.

It is for residents like Armstrong that the city is developing a soil-contaminant protocol.

To be released next year, the protocol will help urban gardeners determine if their soil is contaminant-free. If it’s not, the protocol will explain how they can still grow edible produce.

This might involve doing raised-bed gardening or having their soil remediated.

The main targets are those who garden in community and allotment gardens and on vacant land. Backyard gardeners like Armstrong can also benefit.

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