Learn about our efforts to educate POP partners, students, and the general public on ecological orchard care best practices.
POP provides ongoing assistance to our 66 orchard partner sites. This includes free or discounted access to our orchard care education programs, POP staff site consultations, and recruitment of volunteers for orchard work days. POP’s dedicated volunteers are central to our success, and we are especially grateful to our Lead Orchard Volunteers, who serve as dedicated ongoing volunteers for specific community orchard sites. Please download the Summary of Orchard Partner Roles for more information. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity to give back in your own neighborhood, please contact co-executive director Phil Forsyth (email@example.com).
Orchard Care Resources & Training
POP also maintains an active orchard care listserv and blog to educate partners and the general public on best practices, with regular POP Tips on ecological orchard care and related topics. Our website’s resource list continues to grow, with dozens of lesson plans and orchard care tips available to download for free use by POP partners and the general public. Since 2017, POP has offered an orchardist certification course, POPCORE, offered to POP partners and the general public. The course topics include Pruning, Pest & Disease Management, Harvest and Use of Plants & Fungi, and Orchard & Food Forest Design, with reading lists and Resource Guides available on POP’s website. Orchard care workshops are held at rotating locations throughout the city and tuition is charged on a sliding scale.
In addition to orchard plantings and work days, POP staff and interns plan and lead trainings and educational events including workshops and orchard tours. Past events included a workshop titled “Recipes from the Paw Paw Patch” together with the Culinary Literacy Center at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Mushroom Inoculation, Fire Cider for your herbal medicine cabinet, and Fig Fest at South Philly High. POP also works with its partners to engage the community via seasonal harvest festivals including Strawberry Fest and Apple Fest.
In addition to offering hands-on workshops, online, and printed resources focused on orchard care, the POP team has been working on new video resources for some of the most important orchard care tasks. A nine-part video series on winter pruning was published in early 2022, and is intended to complement the online and in-person workshops for POPCORE 1: Pruning and Eco-Orchard Care. We will also be including more videos focused on orchard care throughout the seasons, as well as sharing some stories about POP’s volunteers, partners, and programs. Videos can also be found on POP’s YouTube channel: subscribe today so you don’t miss out on new releases!
POP Weed Identification Guide
This user-friendly guide was designed for our orchard partners to identify over 40 of the most common weeds in Philadelphia. The guide also educates partners about positive and negative attributes of each weed, including life cycle, growth habit, edible and medicinal qualities, and ecological value. Based on these characteristics, the guide makes recommendations for which weeds to consider tolerating and which to consider removing.
Although intended for use by our partners, POP’s Weed Identification Guide has value for any home gardener! Although intended for use by our partners, POP’s Weed Identification Guide has value for any home gardener! The Weed Identification Guide is available for purchase at POP outreach events and via mail order. Copies are also available to check out from the Free Library of Philadelphia.
School Orchard Program
From 2017 through 2020, POP worked with our school partners on the School Orchard Program to develop orchard-based curricula with unique, engaging, hands-on activities for students in grades K-12. POP staff worked with educators to create and deliver lessons that meet state Department of Education standards on core content areas of reading, math, science, social studies, history, art, and entrepreneurship. Those lesson plans are still available on POP’s Resource page in the Curriculum & Lesson Plans section. POP no longer offers support for lesson delivery but encourages teachers, parents, and other educators to explore the lesson plans and Seasonal Activity Guide developed by POP to use orchards as outdoor classrooms.