POP Newsletter: Summer 2016

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“Knowing that I can return to an orchard twenty years from now and see a tree that I helped to plant is very gratifying!” 
-Tony Dorman, Orchard Liaison Volunteer
We thank you for supporting our vision of a more beautiful, bountiful Philadelphia!
Here are some highlights from our spring season:
  • Planted 32 new fruit trees, 244 berry bushes and vines, and 493 perennials & groundcovers at community orchards across the city!
  • Assisted with brand new orchard plantings at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House and Penn Alexander School
  • Involved 800 volunteers and 1300 participants in more than 90 events including plantings, orchard work days, harvests, and trainings
  • Celebrated our 8th annual Strawberry Festival
  • Kicked off our first ever Juneberry Joy week, harvesting 285 pounds of juneberries
We hope you will take a few minutes to read below about some of the interesting people and stories we encountered along the way.  
Ronald McDonald House volunteers helping at the FNC Lighthouse Orchard!
Please read below for more info about POP’s latest efforts:
  • spring season summary
  • orchard update: Bartram’s Garden
  • upcoming events
  • POP in the news
  • how you can help!

Spring 2016 Season Summary

 
Orchard Plantings.  POP’s core work of planting and supporting community orchards in the city continues to grow, and we are now working with 54 different orchard sites in neighborhoods across the city!  244 volunteers joined with us and our partners at 10 orchard planting events this spring.  Brand new orchards were planted with the Penn Alexander School in West Philly and the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House in North Philadelphia. We also expanded existing orchard sites at Lea Elementary, Penn Park, Overbrook School for the Blind, Casa del Carmen, Philadelphia Montesorri Charter School, Awbury Arboretum, and PhillyEarth at the Village of Arts & Humanities.  To read more about all our orchard partners and view a map of POP sites: phillyorchards.org/orchards.
Volunteers sheetmulching at the Penn Park Orchard, preparing it to be planted as a food forest! 
POPharvest.  This year’s inaugural Juneberry Joy campaign was a delicious success!  From June 7 through 14, we held 7 harvest events throughout the city, picking 285 pounds of juneberries with the help of over 100 volunteers. That’s 285 pounds of fresh fruit saved from going to waste! Many more community members learned of their local orchards, dozens of passersby learned to love this underappreciated berry, and new partnerships with local food and beverage businesses were forged. This year’s Juneberry Joy partners included Li’l Pop Shop, MagPie Artisan Pie Boutique, Weckerly’s Ice Cream, Sazon Restaurant and The Chocolate Alchemist, Funky Fresh Ferments, Higher Grounds Cafe, Random Tea Room, W/N W/N Coffee Bar, and Spruce Hill Preserves! Patrons were able to taste things such as juneberry goat cheese popsicles, juneberry pie, juneberry swirl ice cream, juneberry chocolate bars, juneberry kombucha, juneberry scones, juneberry tea, juneberry salsa, juneberry jelly, and juneberry fruit leather!
Want to participate? Request to join the POPHarvest Google Group for notifications of future harvests!
Our first ever Juneberry Joy campaign was a delicious success! 
Orchard Education.  POP continues to train and educate our orchard partners and the general public about ecological orchard care through a variety of programs.  Over 400 individuals participated in POP educational programs this spring with workshops and trainings on topics including fruit tree care, pruning, grafting, backyard mushroom growing, permaculture and edible eco-system design. We continued our POP TIPS series shared through our Philadelphia Orchard Group (PHOG) listserv and featured the following topics on our new urban orchard blog:

Strawberry Festival
To kick off our summer season we held our 8th annual strawberry festival in partnership with East Park Revitalization Alliance and Historic Strawberry Mansion! Over 100 community members came together on a beautiful June day to harvest strawberries, juneberries, eat a potluck feast, play games, and enjoy the beauty of the Historic Strawberry Mansion orchard. There was even a bee keeper on the grounds to educate us all about bees, beehives, and even give a taste of honey straight from the hive!

Picking strawberries from the Strawberry Mansion Orchard at POP’s 8th annual Strawberry Festival!

Orchard Spotlight: Bartram’s Garden
Big changes are in the works at Bartram’s Garden, the country’s first garden and home of the largest community orchard in the city.  This season, Bartram’s Garden unveiled their first major garden restoration in nearly 100 years. Construction is also underway on the Bartram’s Mile trail, which will connect the Garden to the popular Schuylkill River Trail in Center City as well as provide a new river park and bikepath in Southwest Philadelphia.  Finally, this summer the Farm at Bartram’s Garden has entered a new phase as a neighborhood-based program to support food sovereignty and youth empowerment in Southwest Philadelphia.
To celebrate POP’s commitment to and support of the Farm in its transition, please join us for our Orchard to Table Dinner to be held at Bartram’s Garden on Tuesday, September 13.
The Farm at Bartram’s supports youth empowerment and food sovereignty in Southwest Philadelphia!
Since its founding in 2011, the Farm has always been a hub for learning, sharing, and growth-not to mention delicious food!  With support from POP, the first fruit trees were planted in the Farm’s Orchard in the fall of 2011. The Farm now hosts more than 120 fruit and nut trees, as well as extensive berry plantings.  The Orchard demonstrates the breadth of what can be grown in our region, and its diversity helps illustrate John Bartram‘s significant legacy as a plant collector.  Plantings include heirloom varieties of apples, pears, and other common fruits; unusual fruits like medlars, jujubes, che, and shipova; and a section of native fruits including paw paws, persimmons, and American plums.  Many of the orchard trees are really starting to produce, leading to bumper crops of Nanking cherries, plums, figs, and the first almonds from a POP orchard!

POP Internship Program
This year POP has again expanded our internship program and are proud of the work of 2016 Orchard Apprentice Alkebu-Lan Marcus and POP interns Alyssa Schimmel, Lucia Kearney, Eliza Norrell, and Bridget Downey. POP’s internship program is essential for the organization in expanding the support we provide to our orchard partners while providing young folks with opportunities to get involved with urban agriculture and sustainable living.  This year’s apprentice and interns have been assisting with a wide variety of orchard care, education, gleaning, propagation, and outreach efforts.
“When we gather around to plant, it’s not just a tree that grows, but the whole community grows together.” 
-Bridget Downey, 2016 POP Intern

Read more about Bridget’s POP Internship experience here!

2016 POP Intern Lucia Kearney harvesting Nanking Cherries at Awbury Arboretum!  Photo: Rob Cardillo

Upcoming Events
 
Orchard to Table Dinner, 9/13
Save the date for our Orchard to Table Dinner in collaboration with the Farm at Bartram’s Garden!
 
Pie Making Class with Magpie Artisan Pies, 10/1
Learn to turn one of our prized native fruits into an irresistible baked good with one of Philly’s most talented fruit-fueled businesses! Space is limited to 12 people, so sign up fast!
 
Philadelphia Orchard Week, 10/8 through 10/16
Celebrate our 6th annual Philadelphia Orchard Week with us at a wide variety of harvest festivals, plantings, plant sales, and other orchard events across the city!
More details on the above events and our full fall planting schedule will be announced soon. 

POP in the News!
This season POP was featured in the following media coverage:

How You Can Help! 
Give a fruit tree in celebration or honor of a loved one!
$60 plants a fruit tree in Philadelphia that can provide a community with 150 pounds of fruit per year for decades to come.  Give a gift that keeps giving back!
Your Amazon purchases can benefit POP. . . at no cost to you. 
You can direct Amazon to give a small percentage of all purchases to POP.
Join POP’s Committees 
We’re always looking for more good volunteers for POP’s operating committees!  To help our Education Committee with developing new blog content, educational materials and curriculum, please contact Robyn Mello (robyn@phillyorchards.org).  To assist our Events Committee with organizing fundraising events, tabling at events, or for info about hosting a house party for POP, please contact Tanya Grinblat (tanya@phillyorchards.org).  Experienced volunteers are invited to join POP’s Orchard Committee and work directly with our orchard partners; for more info contact Phil Forsyth (phil@phillyorchards.org).
Volunteer at Orchard Plantings and Events
POP’s fall event season will be announced soon!  To receive updates about upcoming volunteer opportunities, please sign up for our volunteer list on our website (phillyorchards.org/volunteer/signup).
Please use the forward email function below to send this newsletter to friends and family who are interested in our mission to plant and support community orchards in the city of Philadelphia.
Sincerely,

Phil Forsyth, Executive Director
Philadelphia Orchard Project