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A community science participation program at Macquarie University offers soil metal testing for would-be vegetable growers who want to make sure their soil is free of contaminants before they start planting into it.

Dubbed VegeSafe, the program aims to inform growers about metal and metalloid contaminants in their garden soil and provides participants with both a formal report and, if contamination is high, advice on how to deal with the findings.

VegeSafe accepts soil samples from all over Australia, it is the only service of its kind in the country and, while it’s technically a free service, the university encourages people to send a donation in with the sample to support the work of the program.

For our feature on the remarkable work worms can do around your home, including breaking down soil contaminants, head to our in-depth feature starting on page 68.