Teens 4 Good (T4G), a program developed and managed the Federation of Neighborhood Centers, has been addressing hunger and poor nutrition since 2005 by training inner city youth to reclaim their communities by transforming vacant forgotten spaces into sustainable urban farms, using sustainable agricultural growing methods to grow healthy food for our communities and  people in need.

Weekly farmstand at Teens 4 Good, where pints of figs and mulberries were sold this year!

During this time, T4G has been privileged to partner with POP to build 4 food forest orchards within our farms and is looking forward to adding a 5th in 2014.  The orchards bring added life and a natural growing environment to each T4G farm.  The added food production gives us the ability to grow and taste varieties that you may not find in the grocery store.  Additionally, our POP orchards create a living outdoor classroom where knowledge can be shared with our youth and community members.  Here are some stories from our T4G farmers about the orchards on their farms:

Aviva Asher, lead urban farmer/educator at 8th & Poplar farm:

“One day in summer, following a Saturday workday, a farm stand customer discovered the gate was open and walked in, remembering that it was fig season. This very boisterous, middle aged woman has type II diabetes. She tried her first fig at our farm stand two years ago. She told her doctor, family and friends about her love of figs and that day convinced me to let her pick and buy two pints of figs (or as many as I could spare.) She is one of many fig enthusiasts at our farm!”

Corrie Spellman, urban famer/educator at the Carousel House farm:

“In the Spring of 2013 a group of high school students ventured into T4G’s Carousel House Farm for the first time on a POP workday and helped expand the orchard with more blueberries, fruit trees, and an abundance of perennials.  It was the blueberries that were the entryway to many of these student’s first jobs. The experience enticed them to come back, apply for an internship with T4G, and return for the summer to find out what happened to the bushes they so proudly planted. The blueberries taught them the excitement of tasting the fruits of their labor, the joy of sharing the harvest with neighbors, and the value of locally grown produce.”

Teens 4 Good youth planting more blueberries at 8th & Poplar this fall!

Teens 4 Good has also partnered with POP at the Light House Field farm in North Philly and the USLA farm in South Philly.  We are currently working with POP on plans for a new orchard in Roxborough’s Gorgas Park and we hope you will join us for volunteer opportunities at Teens 4 Good orchard sites in 2014.

Orchard Report contributed by Jamie McKnight, Director of Teens 4 Good. 

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: phillyorchards.org/donate.