Macquarie Science VegeSafe initiative recognised with Green Lifestyle award
The Macquarie Faculty of Science’s community soil-testing program, VegeSafe, has been highly commended in the Garden – Company category in the annual Green Lifestyle Awards.
VegeSafe was established in 2013 by a group of passionate environmental scientists, keen to inform the community about metal and metalloid contaminants in their garden soil.
When Vegesafe was first launched, Professor Mark Taylor explained the program’s significance: “This is especially important information for parents and keen urban gardeners,” he said. “As more inner-city and suburban families start sustainable vegetable gardens, it’s crucial that they know what’s in the soil before eating their produce, or exposing their children to soils.”
Through the free soil-sampling program, community participants receive a formal report with their soil results and are provided with links to information and advice about what to do next in the event of soils containing elevated concentrations of metals and metalloids.
“Our motto is ‘carry on gardening’,” says VegeSafe team member Marek Rouillon, “because this is exactly what we want people to do, in the knowledge that their soils are metal free, as is the produce from their gardens.”
The principal VegeSafe team includes Professor Mark Taylor, Associate Professor Damian Gore, and PhD students Marek Rouillon, Paul Harvey, Louise Kristensen and Steven George.
“We’ve also had fantastic help from Olympus via their technical sales specialist for mining, Sam Habib” says Professor Taylor.
The Green Lifestyle Awards showcase the companies, people and products working to minimise impact on the environment, to help make a green lifestyle easy, and set an example for other organisations.
The awards were an opportunity to share with great minds in the industry, according to editor of Green Lifestyle magazine, Caitlin Howlett.
“VegeSafe’s free soil metal testing program is to be highly commended for its ability to inform and empower residents about growing their own safe, fresh veggies. There is very little public awareness about contaminated soils, but Professor Mark Taylor and the team at Macquarie University are doing a great job at educating the community about the risks, and what to do about the problem,” says Howlett.
The annual Green Lifestyle Awards recognise leading green initiatives from a range of industries in the environmental scene. Other people to be recognised by the awards include Bob Brown, India Naidoo, and Olivia Newton-John.