POP’s dedicated volunteers are central to our success, and we are especially grateful to our orchard liaisons, who serve as lead volunteers for our orchard sites. We could not continue to maintain orchards throughout Philadelphia without folks like Amanda Fury, the orchard liaison for our site at Saint James United Methodist Church (formerly Solid Rock UMC). Read on to learn about Amanda’s experience as a POP volunteer!

Did you have any experience with gardening/tree planting prior to volunteering with POP? If so, can you tell us about it?

I have loved gardening for a long time, and was a Tree Tender before working with POP. So I was pretty experienced in gardening myself and also very experienced in helping teach other people how to care for green and growing things.

Can you describe your role as orchard liaison with St James UMC?

As an orchard liaison, I support the Pastor and church volunteers during volunteer days. Also, when I receive POP orchard emails, I check the orchard for those diseases highlighted in the emails! I’m also one of the people who helps with the garden there since there are raised beds in addition to the orchard.

Amanda Fury
The orchard at St James UMC is just one of several urban gardens that super volunteer Amanda Fury helps with!

What has been your favorite part of the planting days you have attended?

I love seeing people do things they’ve never done before. It’s a meaningful experience to see someone who has never planted anything in their lives pick up a shovel.

What have you learned through your volunteering with POP?

I learn new things every day! Since I’m an orchard liaison, I’m constantly reading the POP emails about tree care so that I can advise and care for the trees at the orchard I work with.

What is your favorite fruit tree or fruit, and why?

The first present I bought my husband was a fig tree, so that would have to be it! I also appreciate their religious significance.

Do you have any fruit trees at home? If so, which ones?

We have a fig tree, and we also planted several fruit trees at our garden and near our house, including asian pears and paw paws. In a few years, we hope to have stewarded several varieties of fruit into maturity!

Any additional comments about your experience as a POP volunteer?

I see POP as growing community, which is as important as growing food. I love it!

Work day at Saint James UMC orchard in Spring 2016
Work day at Saint James UMC orchard in Spring 2016

Interview conducted by 2016 POP Intern Eliza Norrell. 

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 .

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.