As always, we thank you for being a friend and supporter of POP.  We had another successful season of pruning, planting, and building towards our vision of fresh, community-grown fruit in every neighborhood in the city.  Please take a minute to read the story of our spring and consider a donation to help us build a beautiful, bountiful Philadelphia.A few highlights from Spring 2013:

  • Planted or expanded nine orchards in collaboration with schools, community gardens, urban farms, and other partner groups across the city.
  • Celebrated the spring harvest with lively community events at the Hunting Park Orchard Festival and the 4th annual Strawberry Festival at Woodford.
  • Began work on an orchard-based school curriculum in partnership with Awbury Arboretum and Weavers Way Community Programs.
  • Smashed our record with over eight hundred Philadelphians participating in planting, caring for, and celebrating community orchards in the city.
  • Secured new grants from the Rosenlund Foundation for educational programs and the Blossum Fund of the Junior League of Philadelphia for our edible plant nursery.

We need your help to continue expanding community orchards and food access in our great city!  Please consider a donation at or join us for our upcoming fundraiser:

Pies for POP
Tiny Terra Ferma is generously hosting this sweet fundraiser party, which will kick off a 90-day Give To Benefit fundraising campaign to help support the Philadelphia Orchard Project’s vital work in the city.  POP’s Director will give a short talk about planting urban orchards and give some tips for growing your own fruit in Philadelphia.

10% of the night’s sales in the Tiny Terra Ferma garden shop – including fruit trees – will be donated to POP. Even sweeter, when you purchase your event entry ticket, you can add on a freshly baked seasonal pie from Sweet Elizabeth’s Cakes made with fruit from Three Springs Fruit Farm. Pies can be picked up at the event. 10% of pie sales will also be donated to POP.

Click here to purchase your ticket now!  If you have any questions about the event or purchasing your ticket, please contact Julie Mesaric at

Spring 2013 Event SummaryHunting Park Orchard Festival, North Philadelphia.  At this lively community event on April 20th, over 100 volunteers helped plant new fruit trees in the Hunting Park Orchard, asparagus and raspberries in the Community Garden, and roses at an adjacent playground.  Participants also pressed fresh apple cider, swapped seeds, potted up strawberries, enjoyed music from a live DJ, and cheered the orchard dedication ceremony.  The Orchard Festival was sponsored by the Junior League of Philadelphia and Citizens Bank and organized in a collaboration between POP, Fairmount Park Conservancy, Hunting Park United, and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.  Many other organizations contributed, including Esperanza Health Center, Esperanza Inc, The Food Trust, Lenfest Center, Philadelphia Seed Exchange, Philadelphia Water Department, Recyclebank, and West Philly Food Hub.

Hunting Park mulch
Volunteer power on display at the Hunting Park Orchard Festival!

 Awbury Orchard Planting, Germantown.  Twenty fruit and nut trees were planted in this brand new orchard in partnership with Awbury Arboretum and Weavers Way Community Programs.  Berry bushes, perennials, and groundcovers will be added to the space this fall to create a permaculture food forest that will serve as the focal point of an orchard-based school curriculum being developed by the partners.  The Awbury Orchard was sponsored by the Harlon Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation.

Teens 4 Good Lighthouse Orchard Planting, North Philadelphia.  Asian pears, peaches, blackberries, and more were planted at this brand new orchard site at the Teens 4 Good Lighthouse Farm. This planting marks POP’s 4th orchard partnership with Teens 4 Good, which runs youth entrepreneurship programs that sell home-grown produce at farmstands and CSA’s around the city.

McKinley Orchard Planting, North Philadelphia.  POP once again worked with The Food Trust in planting a new school orchard, this one at McKinley Elementary in the Fairhill neighborhood.  Volunteers from POP and the Food Trust’s Snackin’ Fresh program helped McKinley’s student garden club with plantings including pears, pawpaws, figs, and blueberries.

McKinley demo
Planting fruit trees with Snackin’ Fresh and the McKinley Elementary Garden Club!


Orchard Expansions.

POP also collaborated with community partners in expanding plantings at existing orchard

sites this spring, including Bartram’s Garden, Teens 4 Good @ Carousel, Greenfield Elementary, and the Overbrook Environmental Education Center.  The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) sponsored pollinator garden plantings at 6 POP sites to improve orchard pollination and ecology.  In all, 65 fruit & nut trees, 111 berry bushes & vines, and 1347 perennials & groundcovers were planted by volunteers to help realize our vision of fresh fruit in every neighborhood in the city.

Orchard Education.  Over 800 volunteers participated in orchard plantings and other POP events this season; all received training in orchard care and proper planting techniques.  Educators from the NRCS and Xerces Society led a packed pollinator garden workshop as part of the 4th annual Strawberry Harvest Festival at Woodford.  Over the winter, POP brought in orchard all-star Lee Reich for a Fruit Pruning Simplified workshop at Awbury Arboretum, organized 3 other pruning workshops at locations across the city, and provided hands-on pruning training to 29 orchard partners.  Throughout the spring, volunteers assisted in propagating and caring for plant materials at POP’s edible plant nursery at Weavers Way Farm at Awbury.

Orchard Report: Edible Belmont
The Edible Belmont project continues to progress with now 9 sites in the neighborhood featuring some type of edible landscape.  Our flagship orchard at the ALAW Home for Autistic Adults is entering it’s third year and has reached peak performance.  The entire neighborhood came out to enjoy the strawberry season that just ended, and now the raspberries, mulberries, and blackberries are getting their turn in the sun.  We have strengthened our partnership with the Belmont Charter School to increase the size and utilization of their school garden and orchard projects, and their trees should be ready to produce next year.
Ogden stewards
Orchard stewards from ALAW and Preston’s Paradise in an edible landscape!

Meanwhile at the Preston’s Paradise homefront, we just counted 17 fruit trees in the ground in our small urban jungle.  Many of our trees bore fruit for the first time this year, and the wet spring has added over a foot of new growth to many of the branches.  We’ve got some hard pruning to do this winter to keep things from getting way out of control.

In the understory, the gooseberries and currants are almost ripe, and are always a crowd pleaser with the kids who love a good sour snack.  The perennial herbs are also flourishing, and if you’re around 37th and Lancaster you can find many of them for sale at the West Philly Fresh Food Hub mobile market for a little taste of summer in your next salad or pizza.
So if you’re in the neighborhood, come by and check out all the things we’ve got going on in Belmont, and grab a bite of the season’s bounty.
Edible Belmont
A West Philly neighborhood now called ‘Edible Belmont’!
Orchard Report contributed by Ryan Kuck of Preston’s Paradise, Greensgrow Farm, and POP’s Orchard Committee.  

Looking to get involved?

Here are a few ways you can share your skills, time and resources with POP:
Join the Education Committee
Members of this new committee will work to organize orchard workshops and trainings and help us develop educational materials about orchard care, nutrition, composting, weed identification, and more!  POP’s Education Committee will be working closely with Awbury Arboretum in 2013 to design and implement a new school curriculum focused on nutrition, horticulture, and permaculture.  If you would like to donate your expertise in curriculum development or graphic design, please contact Nicole Yarbrough ( to learn more.
Host a House Party for POP
Want to really help POP grow its base and raise money to plant fruit trees in Philadelphia?  Host a house party!  These simple affairs can range from appetizers or pizza to a sit-down meal for your friends. You would plan the party, invite friends, neighbors, relatives, and colleagues, and POP would send a representative to talk about orchard planting in Philadelphia and how the funds will be used.  Email Kim Jordan ( for more information on this unique opportunity!
Bartram's pollinator
Volunteers planting a pollinator garden at the Bartram’s Garden Orchard!

Volunteer at Orchard Plantings and Events
To receive updates about upcoming volunteer opportunities, please sign up for our volunteer list on our website ( You can also view a list of events on our homepage.

Join the Orchard CommitteeExperienced POP volunteers are invited to serve as orchard liaisons, developing a long-term relationship with our orchard sites and community partners.  Coordinated by Orchard Director Phil Forsyth, the OrchardCommittee does POP’s core work: evaluating and coordinating with potential planting partners, working with community based groups to plan and plant orchards, and providing long term follow up for orchardcare. The orchard committee consists of staff, board members, and volunteers who meet four times per year. Liaisons are expected to work closely with their partner sites and, with help from POP, hone their skills as orchardists.  For additional information, please contact Orchard Director Phil Forsyth (

Please use the forward email function below to send this newsletter to friends and family who are interested in our mission to plant orchards in the city of Philadelphia that grow healthy food, green spaces and community food security.

Phil Forsyth, Director
Philadelphia Orchard Project

SUPPORT US!  If you found this entry useful, informative, or inspiring, please consider a donation of any size to help POP in planting and supporting community orchards in Philadelphia: