Title

Comparing Heavy Metal Content Found in Spinach (Spinacia Oleracea) Grown on the Roof And Ground Sites At Portland State University

Date

11-8-2021 10:05 AM

Abstract

As a result of urbanization, fresh, healthy food can be expensive and easily contaminated but space for local farming is limited. Roofs can be underutilized in densely populated cities and can offer a space for local fresh farming. The purpose of this study is to find if growing leafy vegetables on the roof can limit heavy metal exposure from air pollutants. By growing Spinach on five roofs and five ground locations around the Portland State University campus, at varying heights, we can extract the heavy metals found in these greens and compare them to each other. The expected results show that growing leafy greens on the roof will have fewer heavy metals and grow faster, stronger and with fewer growing variables than the ground sites. Evidence that growing vegetables on the roof results in less contaminants can lead to larger-scale local gardens and fresher, healthy vegetables.

Biographies

Tyler Robin, Chemistry

Tyler Robin is currently finishing their undergraduate degree in chemistry. Tyler is a part of the BUILD EXITO program as well as a McNair scholar at Portland State University. They started college five years after graduating from high school after working seasonally in national parks. During their time in national parks, they saw the effects of climate change first hand which sparked their passion for the environment. Once they started school at Portland Community College, they fell in love with chemistry. While working as the Food Pantry manager at Portland Community College they decided that the connection between social justice and science needs to be bridged. As they continued their education their ambition and drive proved to them that they could do anything they set their mind to. Now with the aim of obtaining a Ph.D., they have never felt so confident and excited about life and supporting the communities that have supported them in the past. Tyler has interests in many areas but is focusing on environmental chemistry, food justice, environmental justice, planetary science, and sustainability. Tyler believes that through the path of environmental research, open-mindedness, and hard work, social and environmental change can be the future.

Dr. Gwynn Johnson, Faculty Mentor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

While earning her B.S. and M.S., Johnson worked for Environmental Consulting & Technology in Gainesville, Florida, and Larsen and Associates in Miami, Florida. Her field experience inspired her to attain her Ph.D. at the University of Arizona, and she joined PSU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2002 after completing her post-doctoral work. Experienced in subsurface hydrology, contaminant transport and fate, environmental chemistry, Johnson fits in perfectly with PSU’s strong environmental and engineering faculty.

Dr. Olyssa Starry, Faculty Mentor, Professor of Urban Ecology

Dr. Starry is an associate professor at Portland State University where she teaches urban ecology and other related courses in the Honors College. She also serves as faculty mentor to the College’s sustainability scholars and has advised numerous honors thesis projects. Professor Starry studies ecoroofs as model systems for understanding how design and management decisions affect the ecological, social, and political functions of urban open spaces. More specifically, her current externally funded projects address how ecoroof design can affect human health by influencing air quality and also by providing horticultural therapy. Previous publications have explored local and global patterns of ecoroof biodiversity using beetles as indicator species as well as the role of plants in the ecoroof water cycle.

Disciplines

Food Security | Social Justice

Persistent Identifier

https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/36184

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Aug 11th, 10:05 AM

Comparing Heavy Metal Content Found in Spinach (Spinacia Oleracea) Grown on the Roof And Ground Sites At Portland State University

As a result of urbanization, fresh, healthy food can be expensive and easily contaminated but space for local farming is limited. Roofs can be underutilized in densely populated cities and can offer a space for local fresh farming. The purpose of this study is to find if growing leafy vegetables on the roof can limit heavy metal exposure from air pollutants. By growing Spinach on five roofs and five ground locations around the Portland State University campus, at varying heights, we can extract the heavy metals found in these greens and compare them to each other. The expected results show that growing leafy greens on the roof will have fewer heavy metals and grow faster, stronger and with fewer growing variables than the ground sites. Evidence that growing vegetables on the roof results in less contaminants can lead to larger-scale local gardens and fresher, healthy vegetables.