Photo by Jonathan Steffens.

I’m a phenomenal putter-offer, and getting my backyard soil tested is exactly the kind of chore I am fantastic at avoiding. It is the obvious, responsible thing to do, after all, but the results can be a punch in the gut to any urban farmer.

So I blindly ate my way through two growing seasons before curiosity compelled me to find out whether I was slowly consuming an enormous amount of lead and vintage Brooklyn arsenic.