“Many gardeners expressed in one way or another that our orchard — particularly our raspberries, which persisted well into fall — enhanced their experience of being in the garden this year: through the joy of having fresh-picked fruit to snack on during work days, or providing a rewarding activity for kids in harvesting fruit during their visits, or simply through enjoying the beauty of our young orchard plants and food forest throughout the season.” – Gardener, St Bernard Community Garden
Happy Figuary! We thank you for supporting our vision of a more beautiful, bountiful Philadelphia. Here are some highlights from POP’s fall season: -Planted our 1,258th fruit tree and supported our 62nd community orchard site!
-Celebrated our 8th annual Philadelphia Orchard Week with nearly 2,600 participants at harvest festivals and orchard events across the city
-POP’s School Orchard Program published 6 new hands-on orchard-based lesson plans including one on honeybees featured by GrowAbility
-Launched a new program featuring community teachers, POPHarvestEd
We hope you will take a few minutes to read below about some of the interesting people and stories we encountered along the way. You can also read more about our work this year in our 2018 POP Annual Report.
March POP Events
March is a busy month for orchard education! Join us for our POPCORE urban orchardist training course at Bartram’s Garden, Fruit Tree Grafting workshop at Awbury, and 2nd annual Fig Festival at South Philly High School:
Fall 2018 Summary
Orchard Plantings and Support
POP’s core work of planting and supporting community orchards in the city continues to grow, and we are now working with 62 different orchard sites in neighborhoods across the city! 442 volunteers joined with us and our partners at 54 orchard work days and planting events this season. POP assisted with brand new orchard plantings with the Friends Rehabiliation Program in Belmont neighborhood of West Philly and expanded orchards at William Cramp Elementary School, Union Baptist Church, FNC Learning Farm, Bartram’s Garden, Lea Elementary, South Philadelphia High School, and St Bernard Community Garden. To read more about our orchard partners and view a map of POP sites: phillyorchards.org/orchards.
School Orchard Program
In 2018, POP’s School Orchard Program continued to expand in offering unique, engaging, and hands-on learning activities for students, centered in 9 of 12 POP partner school orchards. In total, we offered 26 unique topical lessons, created 6 downloadable lesson and material packs for teachers to use in their classrooms, and made 440 total student impressions through staff visits and lesson plan delivery. Read more about POP’s school orchard program here!
POP continues to educate our orchard partners through diverse offerings including orchard care workshops, consulting visits by POP staff, POP TIPS shared through the Philadelphia Orchard Group (PHOG), and the Philadelphia Orchard Project Blog. This year we released a series of new Pest & Disease Identification Guides on common orchard fruits including plums, cherries, pears, peaches, and apples, which can be found on our Resource page.
This season’s educational programs included a nature photography series, workshops on medicinal plants and plants for pollinator gardens, and piloted our new POPHarvestEd workshop series (see below).
Join us for our upcoming 4-part POPCORE orchardist training course at Bartram’s Garden in March!
This fall, the POPHarvest gleaning program engaged in two crabapple harvests, totaling 242 pounds, much of which was donated and turned into applesauce by Sunday Suppers, a culinary education program serving families at risk of food insecurity. Other group harvests this season included hawthorns, paw paws, and persimmons. This season we also piloted a new POPHarvestEd series bringing in community teachers to lead gleaning workshops focused on sharing cultural, culinary, and medicinal uses of lesser known fruits, nuts, and herbs. In fall 2018 we held workshops on Ginkgo berry processing, Trifoliate Orange based fire cider, Herbal Oxymels, and Black Walnut processing for edibility, fabric dye, wood stain and medicinal properties. Read more about POPHarvest and POPHarvestEd here!
Orchard Week & Harvest Festivals
This year we celebrated our 8th annual Philadelphia Orchard Week with nearly 2,600 participants at orchard sites across the city. Events included orchard plantings, work days, harvest festivals, cider pressing, fruit tree giveaways, crafts and games, volunteer opportunities, and more!
We celebrated at POP’s annual Orchard Dinner in September, honoring volunteers Carl & Jason Grunwald with the 2018 Golden Persimmon Award, and POP partner Jerome Shabazz (Overbrook Environmental Education Center) with the 2018 Purple Fig Award. With partners at Fikira Bakery and foodeveryonedeserves we created and released a local food and orchard-inspired zine at the dinner.
While figs aren’t harvested until the summer, we can celebrate them, and learn about their origins, history, and propagation techniques any time of year. Join us for POP’s second annual Fig Fest at South Philly High on March 30!
POP Orchard Partner Stories
Every year we ask our orchard partners to reflect on the year in the orchard, and to share stories about what the orchard is providing for their community:
“Casa del Carmen values our neighbors in Hunting Park and applauds the older adults that volunteer to care for the orchard. One senior in particular, a Puerto Rican Evacuee whose home and garden was washed away during Hurricane Maria, visits daily to ensure the health of the orchard. He says that tending the garden is recreational and keeps him active and healthy.”— Camille Crane, Casa del Carmen
Read more partner stories here!
2018 Orchard Partner Survey Summary
Results of our 6th annual partner survey provided valuable feedback showing the impact of POP’s programs and guiding our efforts to provide the best support to our partners. For the first time, ‘Gathering and Community Space’ was rated most often as having the “highest value” (37%) with a close second between ‘Educational Opportunities’ and ‘Beauty and Neighborhood Greening’ (35%). Partners reported 428 individuals participated monthly in caring for POP orchards in 2018, while 2,404 participated at least once.
Another 4,435 tasted something grown in a POP orchard; and 8,923 used them as a gathering space (a 65% increase from 2017!). The survey again showed that the majority of orchard produce is distributed within the neighborhood where it’s grown, where it is harvested by or given for free to community members. POP partners reported total harvests of 3,580pounds of orchard produce, with an increase in the percentage sold at on-site farmstands increasing for the second year in a row. 84% of POP partners participated in the survey this year and as a thank you, POP is distributing a requested orchard item, including pruning tools, pole harvesters, produce scales, and guidebooks to all participants.
Read more survey results here!
POP’s urban orchard blog continues to cover a variety of topics in ecological orchard care as well as highlight our plants, programs, partners, and volunteers. You can follow our blog or search for past topics. Some recent posts include:
Health Benefits of Orchard Fruits
10th Annual East Park Apple Festival
Lesson Plan: Getting Funky With Fermentation
Plant Spotlight: Persimmon
Thank you again to everyone who helped POP during our annual appeal campaign this year! Together we were able to raise $24,593, which supports our work maintaining these community spaces of beauty and bounty, educating volunteers and orchard enthusiasts, and installing new orchards in the city of Philadelphia. We still are still shy of our fundraising goal for this fiscal year, and need to raise an additional $12,174 from individual donors by June 30. You can help us get there: plant a fruit tree in celebration of a loved one, or make a one-time or recurring monthly donation today!
POP welcomes our new Development Director, Kim Jordan, who started in January. Kim is thrilled to be taking on her new role with POP and applying all she has learned after serving as a volunteer since POP’s founding in 2007. She looks forward to helping POP continue to support its orchard plantings and partners as well as advancing plans for POP’s HQ and demonstration orchard at The Woodlands.
POP is thankful for new institutional support from Impact100 Philadelphia, Paul Simon Music, and Phillies Charities, and for renewed support from the Claneil Foundation.
Ways You Can Help!
Your Amazon purchases can benefit POP at no cost to you: You can direct Amazon to give a percentage of all purchases to POP.
Workplace donations through United Way, Earthshare, Benevity: POP can now accept workplace donations via United Way (#53494), Earthshare, and Benevity: ask your employer about how to set up tax-exempt contributions and matching donations to support POP (EIN 26-1075823).
Donor-Advised Funds and Stock Transfers: Establish your legacy by setting up a one-time or annual gift to POP through your family foundation or DAF. We are also now able to accept stock transfers, so you can divest, and then invest in planting the future with 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 Alyssa Schimmel (email@example.com). To assist with grantwriting, organizing fundraising events, or helping with outreach activities, please contact Kim Jordan (firstname.lastname@example.org). Experienced volunteers are invited to join POP’s Orchard Committee and work directly with our orchard partners; for more info contact Michael Muehlbauer (email@example.com).
Volunteer at Orchard Plantings and Events: POP’s spring 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).