The Organization

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.

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POP CORE VALUES

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

Justice

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

Permanence

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

Regeneration

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

Beauty

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

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POP’s first orchard planting in spring 2007!

HISTORY

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

CONTACT INFO

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

Alyssa Schimmel, Education Director: alyssa@phillyorchards.org

Michael Muehlbauer, Orchard Director: michael@phillyorchards.org

Alkebu-Lan Marcus, Orchard Assistant: alkebulan@phillyorchards.org

Gabby Rodriguez, Development Assistant: gabrielle@phillyorchards.org

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