Lab Tests

The Real Food Campaign lab performs lab tests on both soil and food.  The goal is to identify lab tests which are inexpensive (low capital cost, low ongoing cost), capture the broadest perspective on quality (classes of compounds rather than individual compounds), and may correlate to easier-to-measure parameters like spectral reflectance.  This informs what test we run.

To see our full Standard Operating Procedure for incoming samples, please see all the surveys which have complete directions and all questions and tests performed from intake to lab testing.  The links below are to the test-specific SOPs.  Any method which does not have a link below is described in the overall process document located here.

Produce (currently carrots and spinach only)


  • Surface reflectance using Our Sci reflectometer (265nm to 940nm)
  • Total organic carbon using loss on ignition (LOI) method (reference paper, email us for copy)
  • Carbon mineralization (ie soil respiration) using 24hr burst method
  • Minerals using XRF


We are always interested in improving our methods, expanding the suite of tests, and using our data stream to support the research of others.  If you have ideas or want to collaborate in some way, please post to the forum, contribute to a working group, or contact us directly.

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