About Pop

About POP

Imagine a Philadelphia where every community regardless of location or wealth has access to fresh, healthy fruit grown right in the neighborhood. . .

The Philadelphia Orchard Project plants and supports community orchards in the city of Philadelphia. Since 2007, POP has worked with community-based groups and volunteers to plan and plant orchards filled with useful and edible plants in neighborhoods across the city. POP provides orchard design assistance, plant materials, and training in orchard care. Community organizations own, maintain, and harvest the orchards, expanding community-based food production. Orchards are planted in formerly vacant lots, community gardens, schoolyards, and other urban spaces, almost exclusively in low-wealth neighborhoods where people lack access to fresh fruit.




POP builds a knowledge-base and culture of orcharding and fruit-growing that connects diverse communities in Philadelphia.


POP is positioned at the intersection of Philadelphia’s burgeoning food and environmental justice movements, particularly in our focus on serving low-wealth communities.


POP plants orchards with partners who share our long-term commitment to communities to create and care for an environmental infrastructure that will endure.


Moving beyond sustainability, POP seeks to regenerate the health of communities, the fertility of the land, and the overall environmental balance throughout Philadelphia.


Orchards bring beauty as well as bounty to urban spaces. Orchards embody fundamental cultural yearnings to repair the earth, and with it, its people.

POP’s first orchard planting in spring 2007!


Founded in 2007 by economic development pioneer Paul Glover, POP is part of a growing movement across the world to develop more sustainable, equitable, and ethical local food systems. Philadelphia is one of the centers of this work, with some 40,000 vacant lots and the highest poverty rate among big cities in America. As the cost of energy, food, and health care rises, the low-wealth neighborhoods where POP plants are the most vulnerable to hunger and related health problems. Orchards and community vegetable gardens offer neighborhoods the most direct access to healthy food, and build people’s capacity to feed their families and neighbors.

  • 2007: POP founded; 3 community orchards supported
  • 2008: POP hired Phil Forsyth as part time Orchard Director; 10 community orchards supported
  • 2009: POP organized first seasonal harvest festival; 17 community orchards supported
  • 2010: POP received 501 c3 status; 23 community orchards supported
  • 2011: POP organized first city wide Philadelphia Orchard Day; 34 community orchards supported
  • 2012: POP promoted Phil Forsyth to Executive Director; 39 community orchards supported
  • 2013: POP organized first annual orchard partner survey; 43 community orchards supported
  • 2014: POP hired Program Director Robyn Mello; piloted POPHarvest gleaning program; 47 community orchards supported
  • 2015: POP hired Development Associate Tanya Grinblat; planted 1000th fruit tree; 51 community orchards supported
  • 2016: POP piloted orchard apprenticeship program; 56 community orchards supported


Phil Forsyth, Executive Director: phil@phillyorchards.org, 215-724-1247

Robyn Mello, Orchard Director: robyn@phillyorchards.org

Alyssa Schimmel, Education Director: alyssa@phillyorchards.org

Tanya Grinblat, Development Director: tanya@phillyorchards.org

Philadelphia Orchard Project
c/o The Woodlands
4000 Woodland Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19104

POP in the News!

"Behold the juneberry, Philly’s sweetest secret, and the harvesters who pluck them from the sidewalks", Philadelphia Inquirer, June 7, 2019

"One orchard, one school at a time: the Philadelphia Orchard Project", Common Good, May 6, 2019

"A rainy 2018 yielded soggy fall harvest, Philly growers say", WHYY, October 24, 2018

"Pawpaws: Where to find and how to eat fall’s best secret treat", Philadelphia Inquirer, September 20, 2018

"The Artist Creating Urban Farms to Feed Philadelphia", Civil Eats, September 20, 2018

"Growing a ‘Culture of Cultivation’ on Campus", Penn Today, September 19, 2018

"The Beautiful Alternative: Orchards in Our City", City Wide Stories, July 10, 2018

"Be Fruitful!", GROW Magazine, September 1, 2017

"Philadelphia Students Producing Fresh Fruit", WHYY Newsworks, August 22, 2017

"Summer’s hearty harvest at the Penn Park Orchard", PennCurrent, July 27, 2017

"9th Annual Strawberry Festival", Metro Philadelphia, June 5, 2017

"Historic Mansions Branch Out: East Park Orchards", Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, April 15, 2017

"Sustainability: The Philadelphia Orchard Project Provides Fresh Fruit to Communities", Philadelphia Neighborhoods, June 24, 2016

"Growing Gardeners: Philadelphia Orchard Project turns vacant lots into local farms, growing food and community", The Philadelphia Citizen, June 8, 2016

"On Philly’s vacant lots, a network of edible forests", The New Food Economy, March 4, 2016

"Where others see waste, local gleaning programs see food for those in need", Grid, March 3, 2016

"Transforming Ground: Philadelphia Orchard Project", Urban Arboreta, February 16, 2016

"POP Pomona Fund milestones", WHYY Newsworks, January 1, 2016

"POP gets $100k grant!", Philadelphia Magazine blog, December 1, 2015

"POP visits Akron, OH", Beacon Journal, November 15, 2015

"Core Learning: Apples Bear Fruit in N. Phila", Philadelphia Inquirer, October 15, 2015

"Planting a Revolution", Philly Daily News, June 25, 2015

"Why Urban Ag Will Make You Healthier", US News, June 23, 2015

"Philadelphia Orchard Project", WHYY TV, June 19, 2015

"POP Weed Identification Guide", WHYY TV, June 19, 2015

"Urban Food Forests", NPR, May 21, 2015

"Green Hour Interview of POP’s Phil Forsyth", WURD 900am, March 29, 2015

"POP Pruning Workshop @ Grumblethorpe", Philly Permaculture, February 11, 2015

"Interview with POP’s Robyn Mello", Talkupy Radio, February 3, 2015

"CON Webcast featuring POP", Community Orchard Network, January 27, 2015

"Philadelphia Orchard Project", Fox 29, November 9, 2014

"UPenn Campus Orchard", UPenn Current, October 16, 2014

"Urban Orchards", TEDx Arcadia, April 10, 2014

"Philadelphia Prison Systems Orchard", Philadelphia Inquirer, April 3, 2014

"Philadelphia Prison Systems Orchard", CBS Philly, April 1, 2014

"Hort Center Food Forest", Master Gardeners, October 24, 2013

"Cincinnati Food Forest", Epoch Times, July 5, 2013

"New website helps gardeners secure vacant land", Plan Philly, June 26, 2013

"Crime Fighting Trees Transform Philly", NBC10, May 28, 2013

"Rivera Rec Orchard", Plan Philly, April 17, 2013

"Philadelphia Orchard Day 2012", Plan Philly, October 25, 2012

"Urban Orchard Movement", American Orchard, October 21, 2012

"Guerilla Grafters", LA Times, September 12, 2012

"POP Case Study", Sonoran Institute, September 4, 2012

"Chicago Rarities Orchard Project", GRIST, September 4, 2012

"Community Orchards", eHow, August 30, 2011

"Weekend urban farms bike tour becomes test of endurance", Newsworks, July 24, 2011

"Playing for Peaches: 3rd Annual POP Music Festival", GRID Philly, July 8, 2011

"Organizers hope to plant change in KC with urban orchards", Kansas City Star, June 24, 2011

"Happy Hollow celebrates 100 years with a new orchard", Newsworks, May 5, 2011

"Discover the Philadelphia Orchard Project", Philadelphia Green News, February 22, 2011

"Edible Landscapes", American Forests, February 1, 2011

"Urban Orchards Taking Root in St. Louis", Stl Today, October 20, 2010

"Deliciously Fresh Produce Philadelphia", NBC News, August 5, 2010

"Urban Foraging – A Pick Your Own Buffet", Philadelphia Enquirer, August 5, 2010

"Container Gardening", Organic Gardening, August 1, 2010

"Urban Agriculture and Ecological Citizenship in Philadelphia", Local Environment, July 3, 2010

"Strawberry Mansion: Orchard Educates Children on Healthy Eating", Philadelphia Neighborhoods, June 1, 2010

"Jumping the Fence", Philadelphia Citypaper, May 1, 2010

"Teach a Man to Fish… er, Plant", The Fallser, May 1, 2010

"The Makers of Green Works Natural Cleaners Announce The 2010 Green Heroes Grant Winners", PRweb, April 1, 2010

"More urbanites have their pick of fresh fruit", USA Today, March 1, 2010

"A Forest of Foods Planned for City", Pittsburgh Post Gazette, November 15, 2009

"Free food can be yours for the picking", Illinois Times, July 1, 2009

"Power Plants", GRID Magazine, April 1, 2009

"Victory Garden meets urban permaculture and it works", The Chestnut Hill Local, March 1, 2009

"An Elf in an Orchard", The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 1, 2008

"Orchards crop up around the city", The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 1, 2008

"A Fruit Tree that (Could) Grow in Brooklyn", Scienceline, August 1, 2008

"Enthusiastis Find Reward in their Backyard Orchards", Philadelphia Inquirer, May 1, 2008

"POP in the Garden", Phillyist, May 1, 2008

"Making Philadelphia Fruity!", Farm to Philly, April 1, 2008

"Philly Orchard Project: Hartranft Planting", BlogNetNews.com, April 1, 2008

"Instant Orchard", Citypaper, November 1, 2007

"Urban Renewal, the Philly Orchard Project Way", Treehugger, November 1, 2007

"Philly Orchard Project", Ecospace, October 1, 2007

"Replacing Neglect with Peach Trees", New York Times, September 1, 2007

"Vacant Lots Start Bearing Fruit", Daily Pennsylvanian, September 1, 2007

"A Peach of a Plan", City Paper, May 1, 2007

"One Planet: Ours", US Botanical Garden, overview of the project: POP is #4, January 1, 2007