The Nice Roots Farm is a three year old urban agriculture project associated with the SHARE Food Program in the West Allegheny neighborhood of North Philadelphia. For the last two years we have grown vegetables in raised beds and fruit in partnership with POP on what used to be a gravel parking lot. We sell half of our fresh, chemical free produce directly to our community for the same price as the most affordable grocery store. The other half of the harvest is donated to SHARE affiliated soup kitchens and food cupboards.  To date, we have grown more than 14,000 pounds of vegetables on our 1/4 acre “farm!”

2012 was a year of rapid growth in our orchard at SHARE Food Program. The fruit trees and bushes are gaining strength in their third year in the and are beginning to provide us with small samples of the bounty that is going to come in the years ahead. Several school groups were fortunate enough to volunteer on days when we were picking fruit. We picked mulberries, currants, peaches, blueberries, and jujubes and ate them in the orchard while conducting educational sessions. Witnessing  children and adults eating fruit right of the tree for the first time is truly a rewarding experience.
SHARE tour
A tour of the lush SHARE orchard. . .  a vacant lot only 3 years ago!

One of our Nice Roots Farm interns hand-painted a 4′ x 8′ site map of the property. The map has every tree, bush, and vine labeled and easy to see for garden visitors, including the hundreds of people who come to SHARE each week for emergency food services. At a glance people can see the diversity of fruit trees in our orchard, and can single out trees or bushes they want to examine further. Next year we look forward to bigger harvests and hopefully the first harvest from our apple and persimmon trees.  In August, the SHARE Orchard and POP hosted more than 30 participants for a Fruit Growing Simplified workshop with Lee Reich, author of Grow Fruit Naturally.

If you are interested in volunteer work or a site visit feel free to stop by SHARE Nice Roots Farm at 2901 West Hunting Park Ave. You can also email me at
Orchard Report contributed by Bill Shick, Urban Agriculture Director at SHARE and member of POP’s Orchard Committee.  
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