That's news to me about not using pool filter sand, from a pool supply company! Sand filters are still the standard in the industry, and the sand is easy to find in my town, by the bag. But that's not helpful for your issue, so I defer to those more knowledgeable. Black Diamond blasting grit is a great option, so maybe you can find that from an industrial paint supply place. It's the stuff they use in sand blasters to clean metal before repainting. (I used to have a job where I was carrying bags of it all day and trying to keep it out of my underwear... never thought I'd want to bring some home!) I'm still reading up on the dirt-under-sand idea too... You could always use the excess soil in a dry planter for some nice veggies!