POP is able to support 54 city orchards thanks to the efforts of our amazing and dedicated volunteers! Especially crucial to our success are our orchard liaisons, who serve as lead volunteers for our many orchard sites. We asked Tony Dorman, who serves as the orchard liaison for both Philadelphia Montessori Charter School and Tilden Middle School, to share his volunteer experience with us.

Tony came to POP with a little bit of gardening experience under his belt. He has a small container garden in his backyard, but not too much is currently growing it. As the orchard liaison for Philadelphia Montessori Charter School and Tilden Middle School, Tony helps with a lot of planning surrounding the orchard and garden spaces. At Tilden, he helps secure grant funding to expand and ensure the future of the garden. Tilden recently received a $2,000 grant towards building seven raised beds in the fall. And at Philadelphia Montessori, he helps with planting and orchard care days.

Tony loves being a part of the planting days at the orchards. “Knowing that I can return to an orchard twenty years from now and see a tree that I helped to plant is very gratifying!” His favorite planting day with POP was his first one, at Bartram’s Garden in West Philly.

Tony at PMCS
Orchard Liason Tony Dorman helping with an orchard work day at the Philadelphia Montessori Charter School in West Philly.  Tony also helped to plant the food forest at this formerly paved schoolyard space!

Tony has learned quite a bit and thinks that POP’s Executive Director, Phil, is a great teacher! He had no idea that the common garden weed purslane was edible until volunteering with POP, and he thinks it is quite tasty and similar to watercress.

Tony’s favorite fruit tree is the apple tree. He thinks that they are beautiful when they bloom, and they won’t leave you hungry. However, in his yard he is growing a Juniper tree that was given to him by Phil.

We asked Tony about his experience volunteering with POP: “ I have greatly enjoyed my experience! I volunteered for POP and the Philadelphia Preservation Alliance around the same time, but POP is the organization that is near and dear to my heart. While watching the physical transformation of the Divine Lorraine Hotel has been amazing, watching the students, teachers and volunteers interact with the garden spaces is even more so!”

If you are interested in attending a planting day, please join our volunteer email list or visit our events page to sign up for an upcoming volunteer opportunity, where you can learn about planting, help your community, and connect with your neighbors! If you are interested in joining POP’s Orchard Committee and becoming an orchard liaison, please contact Phil Forsyth at phil@phillyorchards.org .