The Philadelphia Orchard Project started its internship program in spring 2014 and it has proved essential for the organization in enhancing our programs while providing individuals with opportunities to engage with and learn about urban agriculture and sustainable living practices. If at all possible, we seek full-season interns (approximately February 1 through December 1) who are flexible enough to help with all manner of things our small nonprofit might need. Intern efforts include researching and writing new blog posts and educational tips for orchard partners; assisting with orchard planting, maintenance, and harvest events; working in the POP nursery; performing outreach and assisting with event planning, and more!
Alyssa Schimmel has been an all-star intern since the start of the 2015 season, generally going above and beyond in her work and ability to stay focused and organized. She’s also extremely easy to get along with and acts as a great POP ambassador. Here’s a little about her and her experience working with POP in her words:
“I came to intern with The Philadelphia Orchard Project two years ago, after a season cultivating medicinal plants at Joe Hollis’ North Carolina botanical garden, Mountain Gardens. There, I was ignited with the desire to steward natural spaces that could at once serve as sources of food, medicine, retreat, recreation, community, beauty, and inspiration – a philosophy Hollis calls his Paradise Gardening approach to working with nature.
“With every tree that POP plants, a web of interconnectivity awakens: communities form to care for precious land throughout our city, habitats are restored for animal and pollinator species, and we are all gifted the opportunity to observe nature’s cycling and to learn from it – to the benefit of us all. The fruit that ripens on the trees that we enjoy every season is fruit that spans time. This season’s fresh peach, goumi, or hardy kiwi is ever sweeter knowing that these trees will feed many more beyond our conception and will have been tended collectively by thousands of hands.
“With the mentorship and support of Phil and Robyn, who lead with tenacious heart for this work, I have come to learn so much about building sustainable and diverse eco-systems and developing programming that involves land tenders, volunteers, community members, local business, and artisans in its reach. As a second-year Outreach and Education Intern with the organization, some of my favorite working projects have been cataloging the medicinal and edible uses of the hundreds of species POP plants throughout its sites, writing educational signage, tending our many sites through community work parties, organizing gleaning events that connect people with beloved fruiting street trees like the mulberry and juneberry, and working with local businesses like Magpie, The Random Tea Room, W/N W/N, Weckerly’s, Sazon, Lil Pop Shop and many more on collaborations that turn harvested and gleaned fruit into creative works of culinary art to share the value of the wild and cultivated edibles around us.
“Work with POP is work that truly nourishes; and I am thankful to be among many others who sustain and protect nature throughout the city in all its forms.
“Hope to see you in an orchard soon!”
SUPPORT US! If you would like to help us grow our Intern and Apprenticeship Program, please consider a donation of any size: phillyorchards.org/donate.