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 65 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 orchard liaisons, who serve as lead volunteers for different orchard sites. Please download the orchard liaison role description for more information. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity to give back in your own neighborhood, please contact Executive Director Phil Forsyth (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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 are available to download for free use by POP partners and the general public. In 2017, POP created 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 Permaculture. 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 workshops on permaculture at Weaver’s Way Co-op, “Recipes from the Paw Paw Patch” together with the Culinary Literacy Center at the Free Library of Philadelphia, and Fig Fest at South Philly High. POP also works with its partners to engage the community via seasonal harvest festivals and Philadelphia Orchard Week, held each fall.
Our POPHarvest gleaning program holds events June through November, harvesting abundant but overlooked city fruit that would otherwise go to waste. Sign up for our POPHarvest email list and receive notification of upcoming gleaning events here. In celebration of spring harvests, we hold an annual Juneberry Joy week, coordinating volunteers across the city, and developing partnerships with local businesses to highlight this under-appreciated city fruit.
Building off that program, in 2018 we launched a pilot program called POPHarvestEd, featuring knowledgeable community educators. POPHarvestEd events detailing the use and benefits of gleaned fruits were held following certain harvests, with topics including ginkgo nuts, black walnuts, trifoliate oranges, and herbal oxymels. For more information on the POPHarvest and POPHarvestEd programs, click here.
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.