In order to have a successful farm or garden, healthy soil is a necessity. Urban farmers face challenges when it comes to this. This is due to the fact that soil may get contaminated from past use and nearby activity from unauthorized dumping, construction, heavy traffic, and being too close to buildings that lead based paint has been used. But, in some instances soil can actually be clean. The most important thing to do is to get your soil tested. The alternatives to planting your garden in the soil would be with the use of raised beds or containers over paved surfaces. The other problem that urban farmers may run into is extremely compacted soil with low fertility (UCANR). Raised beds are boxes that can be built from material free of harmful chemicals and then filled with organic soil. This will provide the plants with proper nutrition to be successful. By using raised beds, the urban farmer will also eliminate any soil compaction from foot traffic as well. The installation of a membrane or bottom barrier in the garden bed will also be a great way to take extra precaution to ensure no contamination is done. It is also beneficial to add compost to the soil to aid in healthy and productive plants. is one of the most common practices used by gardeners on urban soils. This practice of using compost provides an increase in organic matter, a source of slow release nutrients, an increase in water-holding capacity, a clean growing medium, and a dilution of potential trace metals in the soil (USDA). In addition, urban soils often have higher levels of metal present because of human activity on the soil. Gardening in urban soils could potentially increase exposure to the metals if you swallow or breathe in the soil particles or if you eat food grown in the soil. These types of metals include arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, and zinc. Although certain metals are essential in small amounts, large amounts of them can lead to health concerns. In particular, lead is a major concern for health problems, especially for children. Usually in urban soils, it is not uncommon to find types of metals near or above guidance levels present in the soil. Health risks that are associated with metals in soils at a level that is slightly, or moderately above guidance values cannot be ruled out, but are usually seen to be at a lower risk. These metals can also lead to issues with plant health as well. Some metals like copper and zinc are taken up by plants and are actually toxic to the plant. Although other metals may not cause the plants harm, they are definitely a point of concern for the health of the public. Additionally, some metals are not as easily taken up by the plants in the conditions found in gardens. In order to reduce exposure to metals in your garden it is important to add compost into the soil. This can help keep metals in the soil from being taken up (Cornell University).