Phil has led POP’s orchard design and development since our first plantings in the spring of 2007. As Executive Director, he works with POP’s board and staff to design and plant orchards, coordinate volunteers, lead educational programs, write grants and organize fundraising activities. Phil has eighteen years of experience in urban farming, gardening, and landscaping. He holds a BS in Horticulture and Landscape Design from Colorado State University and a Certificate in Permaculture Design & Teaching from the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute. Phil previously owned and operated an edible landscape design business in Philadelphia and also blogs on urban farming, edible landscaping, and food growing and has written articles for GRID, the Permaculture Activist, and Urban Farming magazine. In 2017, Phil received the first ever Mary Seton Corboy Award from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
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Michael Muehlbauer was hired as POP’s Orchard Director in January 2018 and brings together a background in sustainable and urban agriculture, edible landscaping, social permaculture, fine gardening, construction, engineering and experience gained from volunteering with a large number of organizations. In addition to his work with POP, Michael also currently farms with youth in Germantown while serving as the operations manager for Grumblethorpe historic house and gardens. Founder of Sustain-a-culture consulting and design, former co-owner of the sustainable and edible landscaping company Contemporary Homestead and core member of the Beacon Food Forest in Seattle, WA, Michael enjoys the practice of social farming and aims to bring community powered food forestry to public land in Philadelphia with the Fair-Amount Food Forest initiative. He began farming with F.H. King Students for Sustainable Agriculture in 2009 and worked as a research farmer in organic and no-till agricultural experiments for two years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he received a Bachelor’s of Science in Agricultural and Biological Systems Engineering.
Alkebu-Lan Marcus was hired as POP’s second Orchard Director in January 2020 after previously working with POP in Orchard Assistant and Apprentice positions. He is a Philadelphia native, born and raised in West Philadelphia. Alkebu-Lan first got involved with food justice and urban farming in 2015 and previously served as farm director of Mill Creek Farm in West Philadelphia. He has taught a variety of workshops on biochar and other soil building practices. In his current role, Alkebu-Lan provides support and training to city orchards, with a focus on those in West Philadelphia.
Kim joined the POP staff as Development Director in January 2019, and became Co-Executive Director in October 2019. Kim moved to Philadelphia in 2004 to pursue a PhD in Immunology from the University of Pennsylvania, completing her dissertation on food-borne parasites in 2010. While in school Kim began volunteering with POP, and after planting and tending trees in neighborhoods across Philadelphia, meeting inspirational community groups and growers, and falling in love with the city, she decided to call it home. She served on POP’s Board from 2009-2016, including terms as Board President and Treasurer, and before starting at POP, worked as Development Manager at Fairmount Park Conservancy. Outside of POP, she appreciates the many opportunities the city offers for civic engagement. Kim graduated from the Citizens Planning Institute in Fall 2017, currently serves as a Democratic committee person in Philadelphia’s 31st Ward, and volunteers for mutual aid efforts around food growing and food distribution with Cooperative Gardens Commission and BunnyHopPHL.
Sharon has been a volunteer for various local farms and community gardens since relocating to Philadelphia in 2018. In the summer of 2020, Sharon worked with Soil Generation as a part of the Farm Brigade, assisting and learning under the guide of black-led community gardens across the city. Sharon is eager to use the knowledge they learn working with POP to expand their farming journey, lend a hand in providing food for the community they love to call home and most importantly, share skills with others who are also curious, passionate and empowered by learning how to grow food.
Corrie joined the POP team in early 2021 as the Education and Outreach Coordinator, bringing with her over ten years of working to connect people with plants. Corrie loves to grow food with others as an act of celebration. She is a farmer, experiential educator, sporadic medicine maker, and aspiring creative. She holds a BA in Peace and Social Justice from Berea College and a Certificate in Ecological Horticulture from the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at UC Santa Cruz. Corrie previously managed educational garden spaces in Philadelphia and diversified organic production farms on the West Coast.
Simone, a transplant from Michigan, had her sights on POP since moving to Philly last year and began helping out with POP last summer. She is now an orchard intern supporting orchards in North/Northwest Philly. Since her early days, she's always had dirt under fingernails and that's how she likes it. Simone has dabbled in horticulture since high school, having worked with a few small farms, Anna Scripps Whitcomb Plant Conservatory in Detroit, a natural areas management crew, a few landscaping crews, and most recently, with Pennsylvania Horticultural Society this past season. She also started a gardening club with Bright Futures After School Program, planting a butterfly garden in the school courtyard with middle schoolers. Having gained deep knowledge about plants, plant maintenance, and restoration over the years, she now wants to focus more on the intersection between people and plants and move in a more environmental justice and food access-focused route. She is currently working towards a masters in landscape architecture at Temple.
Joe joined POP as an Education and Outreach Intern in 2021. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently a student at Haverford College majoring in Urban Studies, he became interested in issues of food justice and urban agriculture through his coursework, eventually becoming an amateur gardener in the past summer. He looks forward to increasing his own knowledge of orchards and Philadelphia, both its communities and green spaces, as well as improving community access to POP's educational and informational capacity.
Cortina joined the POP team as the Fundraising and Communications Intern in April 2021. Originally from Binghamton, New York, Cortina served in the US Navy for five years before starting her degree at University of Washington in Seattle. She became interested in learning more about environmental justice and urban agriculture during her time there and is now working towards finishing her degree in the Department of Biodiversity, Earth, and Environmental Science at Drexel University. Cortina can't wait to learn more about gardening, but most of all she is passionate about helping POP achieve its vision of working with communities to connect and create green spaces in the city of Philadelphia that will provide access to fresh fruit in a sustainable way.