POP 2018 Summer Newsletter

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2018 has been an exciting year so far for the Philadelphia Orchard Project and we thank each and every one of you for supporting us in our mission to create a more beautiful, bountiful Philadelphia.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM OUR 2018 SPRING SEASON

-Planted our 1,239th fruit tree and supported our 61st community orchard site
-Involved over 700 volunteers and 1200 participants at orchard plantings, workshops, work days, harvests, school lessons, 1st annual Fig Fest and 10th annual East Park Strawberry Fest!
-Assisted with brand new orchard plantings at Cramp Elementary, Union Baptist Church, and Wyck Historic House
-Received new support from musician Paul Simon, Impact100, the Claneil Foundation, and more!

We hope you will take a few minutes to read below about some our POP events, past and future, as well as some of the interesting people and stories we’ve encountered along the way.  


Volunteer Work Days

 

 

POP is always in need of volunteers to help us with orchard maintenance throughout the season, workdays occur monthly so be sure to check our website for updates on events across the city.

Volunteer Groups

Getting your hands dirty in an orchard is always better with friends, if you or anyone you know is looking for the opportunity to help out as a group, reach out to: info@phillyorchards.org


2018 Updates

POP is Growing!

This year we are thrilled to introduce new staff members Orchard Director Michael Muehlbauer and Orchard Assistant Alkebu-lan Marcus! This year’s POP team also includes Repair the World Fellow Megan Brookens and interns Alex Vogelsong, Cole Jadrosich, Greg Hample, and Abaigh Casey. We’d also like to express our thanks again to departing staff Robyn and Tanya.


Orchard Education

We’ve had a busy and bountiful spring season with POP’s School Orchard program and community educational initiatives. Since January, we’ve delivered 17 lessons to 6 school orchard partners and reached 210 students.

Participating school orchard partners included William L. Sayre High School, William T. Tilden Middle School, Henry C. Lea Elementary School, Overbrook School for the Blind, Penn Alexander School, and John F. Hartranft School. Lesson topics included propagation, planting, and pruning; creating value-added products from the orchard; wild edible identification; and food preservation methods and traditions.

To read more about this year’s school orchard program, see our recent blog post update “Teaching Tomorrow’s Tenders


Orchard Plantings

POP’s core work of planting and supporting community orchards in the city continues to grow, and we are now working with 61 different orchard sites in neighborhoods across the city! 234 volunteers joined with us and our partners at 14 orchard planting events this spring.

Brand new orchards were planted with Cramp Elementary in North Philly, Union Baptist Church in South Philly, and Wyck Historic House in Northwest Philly. In all, 33 new fruit and nut trees, 92 berries and vines, and 526 perennial flowers and herbs were planted this season!

To learn more about all our orchard partners and view a map of POP sites, click here or visit phillyorchards.org/orchards.


POPHarvest Gleaning

      

June was joyful and filled with Juneberries, one of our favorite native fruits. With volunteers and orchard partners, we picked 120 lbs of juneberries at 10 harvest events across the city.

These incredible, abundantly available fruits were then featured by local businesses with a shared aim to increase awareness and utilize local fruit that would otherwise go to waste. We also harvested 50 lbs of fruit during Mulberry Madness and we are looking forward to Paw Paw Palooza 2018. Stay tuned for other gleaning events and a new workshop series highlighting lesser known fruits & herbs and led by community educators.

Join our POPHarvest listserv to get involved!


Resources

POP Blog
POP’s urban orchard blog continues to cover a variety of topics in ecological orchard care as well as highlighting our plants, programs, partners, and volunteers.

Some recent posts include:

Those Nutty Gardeners!: PA & NY Nut Growers Association

The Spotted Lanternfly: New Orchard Superpest?

Amaranth: Super Feed, Super Weed

Shrubs with Shrubs: Incorporating Underutilized Shrubs into Your Garden and Your Cocktails

New POP Pest & Disease Identification Guides!

Need help in identifying what specific pests and diseases are troubling your fruit trees?  POP has put together a series of photo guides for apples, cherries, peaches, plums, pears and Asian pears!  Download them for free from our website: https://www.phillyorchards.org/resources/pop_handouts/

Weed ID Guides

Our user-friendly guide was designed for 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! The price for mail delivery is $18 per guide and you can purchase them here via PayPal.

Please reach out to info@phillyorchards.org for bulk ordering options. We are happy to provide reduced pricing options for orders of 5 or more copies.


Keep POP Growing Strong

Your Amazon purchases can benefit POP at no cost to you!

You can direct Amazon to give a percentage of all purchases to POP.

Workplace Donations:

POP can now accept workplace donations via United Way (#53494), Earthshare, and Benevity: ask your employer about how to set up tax-exempt contributions and matching donations to support our work. We are also now able to accept stock transfers, so you can divest, and then invest in planting the future with POP!

Individual Donations:

The Philadelphia Orchard Project is deeply grateful to each and every one of our generous donors and the support of our community. To make a donation simply click below and fill out the online form.

Donate 

 

2018 POP Winter Newsletter

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“Many families, staff and volunteers were able to taste a fresh fig for the first time! They were all surprised at the difference between a fresh fig and a fig newton.” — Carolann Costa, Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House

Happy Figuary!  We thank you for supporting our vision of a more beautiful, bountiful Philadelphia. Here are some highlights from POP’s fall season: 

  • Planted our 1,206th fruit tree and supported our 59th community orchard site!
  • Celebrated our 7th annual Philadelphia Orchard Week with over 1800 participants at harvest festivals and orchard events across the city
  • Assisted with brand new orchard plantings with the Norris Square Neighborhood Project and South Philadelphia High School
  • POP’s new school orchard program published our first complete orchard-based lesson plan
  • Celebrated POP’s 10th Anniversary and were featured in PHS’s GROW Magazine
We hope you will take a few minutes to read below about some of the interesting people and stories we encountered along the way. 

FALL 2017 SEASON SUMMARY


ORCHARD PLANTINGS

POP’s core work of planting and supporting community orchards in the city continues to grow, and we are now working with 59 different orchard sites in neighborhoods across the city! 204 volunteers joined with us and our partners at 14 orchard planting events this fall. Brand new orchards were planted with the Norris Square Neighborhood Project and South Philadelphia High School. We also expanded existing orchard sites at Bartram’s Garden, Tilden Middle School, Bartram High School, Pastorius Community Gardens, Monumental Baptist Church, Lea Elementary, Sayre High School, Penn Park, and Jewish Farm School. To read more about our orchard partners and view a map of POP sites: phillyorchards.org/orchards.


SCHOOL ORCHARD PROGRAM

2017 was the kickoff year for POP’s new School Orchard Program. Education Director Alyssa Schimmel collaborated with POP’s 12 city school orchard partners to begin developing a database of materials to activate the orchards as centers of learning and exploration. Across all sites, POP was able to teach 250 students through 44 school visits, with 14 formal lessons delivered in 2017. Read more about POP’s new school orchard program here! 


ORCHARD EDUCATION

POP continues to educate our orchard partners through diverse offerings including orchard care workshops, consulting visits by POP staff, POP TIPS shared through the Philadelphia Orchard Group (PHOG), and the Philadelphia Orchard Project Blog. This season’s educational programs included workshops on jam-making, fruit tree care, permaculture, and harvest and use of orchard plants. Join us for our upcoming 4-part POPCORE orchardist training course at Bartram’s Garden in March!


ORCHARD WEEK & HARVEST FESTIVALS

This year we celebrated our 7th annual Philadelphia Orchard Week with over 1800 participants at orchard sites across the city. Events included orchard plantings, work days, harvest festivals, cider pressing, plant sale, crafts and games, volunteer opportunities, and more!  In addition to POP’s 10th Anniversary Celebration in September, we also kicked off the holiday season with a Winter Wassailing event at Awbury Arboretum in December. Join us for our first ever Fig Fest coming up on February 24!


ORCHARD PARTNER STORIES

Every year we ask our orchard partners to reflect on the year in the orchard, and to share stories about what the orchard is providing for their community:

“We have three sweet cherry trees that had a great harvest this year. Fruit gets a lot more attention & excitement than vegetables, which spread to our surrounding community. The cherry harvesting was a large gathering event, and we had people of all ages picking off cherries. Many people did not know that cherries came from trees. A lot of neighborhood children got to climb the tree to pick off the cherries, which one of them told me was a “magical experience”.

— Marta Lynch, FNC Poplar Learning Farm

Read more partner stories here!


2017 Orchard Partner Survey Summary

Results of our 5th annual partner survey provided valuable feedback showing the impact of POP’s programs and guiding our efforts to provide the best support to our partners. This year ‘Beauty and Neighborhood Greening’ was rated as the highest value of the orchard spaces. Partners reported 4385 individuals participated in caring for POP orchards in 2017 (twice last year’s total); another 4681 tasted something grown in a POP orchard; and 5386 used them as a gathering space. The survey again showed that almost all orchard produce is distributed within the neighborhood where it’s grown, including 57% harvested by or given for free to community members. POP partners reported total harvests of 3689 pounds of orchard produce. 81% of POP partners participated in the survey this year and as a thank you, POP is distributing a requested orchard item, including pruning tools, pole harvesters, produce scales, and guidebooks to all participants.

Read more survey results here!


POP Blog

POP’s urban orchard blog continues to cover a variety of topics in ecological orchard care as well as highlight our plants, programs, partners, and volunteers.  You can follow our blog or search it for past topics.  Some recent posts include:

POP Orchard Feature: Jewish Farm School

POP History 2016 & Volunteer Highlight: Angelina Conti

POP History 2015 & Volunteer Highlight: Tony Dorman

POP Fig Varieties and Introducing Megan Brookens: A Fellow Fig Lover!

POP History 2014 & Volunteer Highlight: Ryan Kuck

Fall Foraging: Crabapples and Gingko Nuts and Leaves


WAYS YOU CAN HELP!

Your Amazon purchases can benefit POP at no cost to you. 

You can direct Amazon to give a percentage of all purchases to POP.

Workplace donations through United Way, Earthshare, Benevity

POP can now accept workplace donations via United Way (#53494), Earthshare, and Benevity: ask your employer about how to set up tax-exempt contributions and matching donations to support our work. We are also now able to accept stock transfers, so you can divest, and then invest in planting the future with POP!

Join POP’s Committees

We’re always looking for more good volunteers for POP’s operating committees! To help our Education Committee with developing new blog content, educational materials and curriculum, please contact Alyssa Schimmel (alyssa@phillyorchards.org). To assist our Events Committee with organizing fundraising events or helping with outreach activities, please contact Tanya Grinblat (tanya@phillyorchards.org). Experienced volunteers are invited to join POP’s Orchard Committee and work directly with our orchard partners; for more info contact Michael (michael@phillyorchards.org).

Volunteer at Orchard Plantings and Events

POP’s fall event season will be announced soon! To receive updates about upcoming volunteer opportunities, please sign up for our volunteer list on our website (phillyorchards.org/volunteer/signup).

SUPPORT US!  If you found this entry useful, informative, or inspiring, please consider a donation of any size to help POP in planting and supporting community orchards in Philadelphia:  phillyorchards.org/donate.  

POP Summer Newsletter 2017

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Partnering with POP gave my students more than just the chance to plant trees; it provided us with experiential learning opportunities fostering skills for changing our communities while understanding proper plant care. Our classroom became orchards and gardens amid a sea of concrete; our materials morphed into natural resources and tools to shape them. Our curriculum was no longer worksheets and textbooks–rather, a call to direct action, creating and learning how to design agricultural systems that can provide communities with food, medicine, and sustainable practices to help them become cleaner, healthier, independent, and more closely connected.”
– Cole Jadrosich, Tilden Middle School Literacy & Agricultural Educator

Please join POP in celebrating 10 years of planting community orchards in the city!  Thank you for your support of our vision of a more beautiful and bountiful Philadelphia. 

Here are some highlights from our 2017 spring season:  

  • Planted our 1,141th fruit tree and supported our 57th community orchard site!
  • Received the Great American Gardeners Award for Urban Beautification from the American Horticultural Society
  • Assisted with brand new orchard plantings at Pastorius Community Gardens, St Bernard Community Garden, Tilden Middle School, and Bartram High School
  • Involved over 600 volunteers and 1000 participants in 87 events including orchard plantings, work days, workshops, tours, harvests, and festivals
  • Organized our first POP CORE urban orchardist certification course

We hope you will take a few minutes to read below about some of the interesting people and stories we encountered along the way.  

POP’s programs run all year!  Join us for our Jam-making workshop at Greensgrow this Saturday, 8/12 or check out our website for a variety of upcoming orchard work days at sites across the city. 

POP is Celebrating its 10 Year Anniversary!

Can you believe it? These last 10 years have been filled with new orchard plantings, collaborations, community gatherings, harvest festivals, fruit picking, and so much more! We are so excited to celebrate these last 10 years with our POP community and hope you will join us on Sunday, September 10th for POP’s 10th Anniversary Celebration!

10 years, 57 community orchards, and still growing.


If you can’t make it, please consider supporting our next ten years with a donation

Spring 2017 Summary

Orchard Plantings. POP’s core work of planting and supporting community orchards in the city continues to grow, and we are now working with 57 different orchard sites in neighborhoods across the city!  209 volunteers joined with us and our partners at 10 orchard planting events this spring.  Brand new orchards were planted with Pastorius Community Gardens in Germantown; St Bernard Community Garden in West Philly; and Tilden Middle School and Bartram High School in Southwest Philly. We also expanded existing orchard sites at Kleinlife, Lea Elementary, Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House, Overbrook School for the Blind, PhillyEarth @ the Village of Arts & Humanities, and Penn Park. To read more about all our orchard partners and view a map of POP sites: phillyorchards.org/orchards.


Expansion planting at KleinLife in spring 2017. 

Harvest, Gleaning & Preservation. In April, Robyn had the opportunity to present and participate in the first ever International Gleaners Symposium. The symposium was hosted in Salt Lake City by Green Urban Lunchbox, an urban agriculture and gleaning organization based there, and attended by gleaning nonprofits from all over the US and Canada. Back in Philadelphia, our POPHarvest program kicket off with our 2nd annual Juneberry Joy Campaign, where 122 pounds of juneberries were harvested by 45 volunteers for take home and partnerships with various local food businesses. We’ve also harvested strawberries, cherries, and mulberries with various POP Partner Orchards, and we continued our relationship with Linvilla Orchards by harvesting 1,000 pounds of excess peaches and distributing them to several emergency food centers in Philadelphia. POPHarvest additionally expanded its scope to include two herb harvests from the abundant food forest-style partner orchard in Penn Park. Participants harvested roman chamomile, elderberries, anise hyssop, thyme, and oregano for spices and medicine, and sampled some of the first ripe grapes in the orchard! Stay up to date for more upcoming POPHarvest events by joining the listserv here.

POPHarvest volunteers with gleaned Linvilla peaches
POPHarvest volunteers with gleaned Linvilla peaches

Orchard Education.  POP continues to educate our orchard partners through diverse offerings including workshops, consulting visits, POP TIPS shared through the Philadelphia Orchard Group (PHOG), and the Philadelphia Orchard Project Blog. In March, POP hosted its first ever Community Orchard Resilience Education course (POPCORE) to more comprehensively train orchardists throughout the city to care for their spaces long into the future. This 4-part course includes (1) “Pruning and Orchard Care Through The Seasons”, (2) “Eco-Orchard Pest and Disease Management”, (3) “Orchard Plants and Fungi”, and (4) “Introduction to Permaculture Design”. 33 students took at least one class and 8 complete the whole course! Moving forward, we plan to teach one class every 3 months and teach the whole course every March. Though educating our partners and volunteers is the main motivation for designing this course, all classes are open to the general public–and we never know when today’s first time student could become tomorrow’s new orchard steward! You can take one or all classes and complete the course within two years for certification. Sign up for our next POPCORE workshop to be held on September 28 and stay tuned to events listings on our website for ongoing POPCORE offerings.


Students in the first POPCORE Course participate in answering big questions for group discussion. Join our next workshop on Orchard Plants & Fungi on September 28th

School Orchards update.  In January 2017, POP hired two-time Education & Outreach intern Alyssa Schimmel to serve as POP’s new Education Director.  In collaboration with POP’s 10 school partner sites, POP is creating orchard-based lesson plans to implement into the classroom with elementary, middle, and high school students. Pilot sites for the new program including Lea Elementary, Tilden Middle School, and the Overbrook School for the Blind.  POP plans to build a network of educators throughout the city for educational resource sharing and curriculum development. Please email alyssa@phillyorchards.org if you would like to join a committee of dynamic and inspired agricultural educators.


Community Design Meetings with new POP Partner Applicant, Cramp Elementary School, have been very rewarding!

Juneberry Joy 2017

An annual tradition in its second year, Juneberry Joy is an exciting collaboration between the Philadelphia Orchard Project, volunteersand local food artisans.  This year, POP volunteers help us harvest 119 pounds of juneberries (also known as serviceberries or saskatoons) from 9 different locations across the city.  The berries were then bought by 9 different artisan partners and crafted into yummy food goods to introduce yet more folks to this abundant and delicious city fruit!  Participating partners this year included Weckerly’s, Schmear It, Magpie, Fikira Bakery, Crime & Punishment, Lil Pop Shop, Martha, The Monkey & The Elephant, and Funky Fresh.  A portion of the proceeds from berry and food sales is donated back to POP’s community orchard programming.


Read more about this year’s Juneberry Joy, including the delights made by our artisan partners and recipe ideas!

2017 Strawberry Festival

This year was our biggest Strawberry Festival ever, with over 200 participants picking fresh strawberries from the patch, getting their face painted, learning about bees, eating good food, taking a tour of the orchard and Historic Strawberry Mansion, and celebrating the successful spring planting season!

Everyone left with a belly full of strawberries and had the chance to enjoy a beautiful day in this neighborhood gem!


Fresh organic strawberries straight from the garden at this year’s 9th annual East Park Strawberry Fest! 

Philadelphia Orchard Project Blog

POP’s urban orchard blog continues to cover a variety of topics in ecological orchard care as well as highlight our plants, programs, partners, and volunteers.  You can follow our blog or search it for past topics.  Some recent posts include:

Read more about POP’s partnership at Tilden Middle School in our recent blog post by educator Cole Jadrosich.  

School Orchard Campaign Update

Thank you again to everyone who helped us during our School Orchard Program campaign this year! Together we were able to raise over $5,000, which supports our work in expanding opportunities for Philadelphia youth through outdoor orchard education. You can stlil contribute to this program by making a tax-deductible donation today!

Other Ways You Can Help!

Your Amazon purchases can benefit POP. . . at no cost to you. 

You can direct Amazon to give a percentage of all purchases to POP

Workplace donations through United Way, Earthshare, Benevity

POP can now accept workplace donations via United Way (#53494), Earthshare, and Benevity: ask your employer about how to set up tax-exempt contributions and matching donations to support our work. We are also now able to accept stock transfers, so you can divest. . . and then invest in planting the future with POP!

Join POP’s Committees 

We’re always looking for more good volunteers for POP’s operating committees!  To help our Education Committee with developing new blog content, educational materials and curriculum, please contact Alyssa Schimmel (alyssa@phillyorchards.org).  To assist our Events Committee with organizing fundraising events or helping with outreach activities, please contact Tanya Grinblat (tanya@phillyorchards.org).  Experienced volunteers are invited to join POP’s Orchard Committee and work directly with our orchard partners; for more info contact Robyn Mello (robyn@phillyorchards.org).

Volunteer at Orchard Plantings and Events

POP’s fall event season will be announced soon!  To receive updates about upcoming volunteer opportunities, please sign up for our volunteer list on our website (phillyorchards.org/volunteer/signup).


Plant a fruit tree in celebration of a loved one for holidays, birthdays, and other occasions!

POP 2017 Winter Newsletter

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“At first my volunteer group was hesitant, saying they had never heard of the fruit, but I think everyone there eventually tried the goumi berries, and this had an interesting effect. We began to talk about fruits we liked growing up, remembering what plants our families grew in their gardens, and sharing almost forgotten herbal home remedies for illnesses our parents gave to us. The time we spent in the orchard that day helped us get to know each other more and brought us closer together.”                                   — Leslie Cerf, Awbury Arboretum

We thank you for supporting our vision of a more beautiful, bountiful Philadelphia!

Here are some highlights from our fall 2017 season:

  • Planted our 1099th fruit tree and supported our 56th community orchard site!
  • Assisted with brand new orchard plantings at KleinLife community center, Jewish Farm School, and Monumental Baptist Church
  • Partnered with the West Philly Tool Library to make orchard tools & equipment more accessible
  • Involved over 2000 volunteers and participants in 59 events including orchard plantings, work days, workshops, tours, harvests, and festivals
  • Celebrated our 6th annual Philadelphia Orchard Week with harvest festivals and other events at orchard sites across the city!

We hope you will take a few minutes to read below about some of the interesting people and stories we encountered along the way.  

Young volunteers help with food forest plantings at Penn Park in fall 2016!


POP is 10 Years Old!

All this year we will be celebrating the Philadelphia Orchard Project’s 10th anniversary!  Each month we’ll look back at a different year in our history and recognize the efforts of some of our extraordinary volunteers.  Stay tuned for announcements about a series of events to celebrate our big milestone.

Ten years ago, POP Executive Director Phil Forsyth and others were inspired by Paul Glover’s original vision of a Philadelphia Orchard Project that would plant vacant lots and other city spaces with fruit trees to feed hungry Philadelphians.  In looking back on this important anniversary, we take pride on the progress we’ve made towards this original vision and transitioning it to a fully realized organization.  In our first ten years, POP has planted almost 1,100 fruit trees and currently supports a total of 56 community orchards in the city, primarily in neighborhoods lacking access to fresh fruit.  We are proud of the impact of our community orchards in bringing beauty and bounty to neighborhoods and helping to build a new culture of fresh food in the city.


POP’s very first planting way back in 2007!

2017 is going to be another pivotal year for POP’s growth!  We just hired a new part-time Education Director, Alyssa Schimmel, who among other things will be working directly with our 10 school orchard partners and developing a series of orchard-based lesson plans.  We are also rolling out our new POP CORE urban orchardist certification course in March to help train our orchard partners and volunteers.  What’s more, in February 2017, we moved into POP’s first ever office space at The Woodlands in West Philadelphia!


Fall 2016 Summary

Orchard Plantings. POP’s core work of planting and supporting community orchards in the city continues to grow, and we are now working with 56 different orchard sites in neighborhoods across the city!  230 volunteers joined with us and our partners at 16 orchard planting events this fall.  Brand new orchards were planted with the KleinLife community center, Jewish Farm School, and Monumental Baptist Church. We also expanded existing orchard sites at Lea Elementary, Penn Alexander School, Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House, Overbrook School for the Blind, Overbrook Environmental Education Center, PhillyEarth @ the Village of Arts & Humanities, Awbury Arboretum, Historic Fair Hill, Woodford Mansion, Penn Park, Francisville, and Bartram’s Garden. To read more about all our orchard partners and view a map of POP sites: phillyorchards.org/orchards.

Harvest, Gleaning & Preservation. Eight POPHarvest gleaning events were held during our summer and fall 2016 season, where an estimated 5,000 pounds of fruit were picked by volunteers for take home and for donation to emergency food pantries, transition houses, churches, and partner organizations throughout the city. Many additional pounds of apples went into fresh cider pressed at various harvest festivals and Orchard Week events! POP staff, interns, and volunteers gleaned apples, peaches, and pears from a local commercial you-pick orchard; Asian pears from streets and backyards; mulberries, plums, and apricots from one of our partner orchards; and trifoliate oranges from historic sites. Stay up to date with 2017 harvesting events and become part of growing this program to make use of underutilized fruits by becoming a member of the POPHarvest listserv.

Orchard Education.  POP continues to educate our orchard partners through diverse offerings including orchard care workshops, consulting visits by POP staff, POP TIPS shared through the Philadelphia Orchard Group (PHOG), and the Philadelphia Orchard Project Blog. In January 2017, POP hired two-time Education & Outreach intern Alyssa Schimmel to serve part-time as POP’s Education Director.  In collaboration with POP’s 10 school partner sites, POP will create orchard-based lessons to implement into the classroom with elementary, middle, and high school students. Henry C. Lea Elementary School in West Philadelphia will be the first committed pilot site. POP plans to build a network of educators throughout the city for educational resource sharing and curriculum development. Please email alyssa@phillyorchards.org if you would like to join a committee of dynamic and inspired agricultural educators.

Please join us for our upcoming Fruit Tree Grafting Workshop on March 11 and learn more about the launch of POP’s 4-part Community Orchard Resilience Education (POPCORE) course Wednesdays in March at Bartram’s Garden beginning March 8th.


POP workshops this fall included biochar, compost tea, and ecosystem design!

6th Annual Philadelphia Orchard Week.  This year we celebrated Philadelphia Orchard Week with over 1600 participants at orchard sites across the city. Events included orchard plantings, harvest festivals, apple picking, cider pressing, a plant sale, crafts and games, volunteer opportunities, and more!  POP also loaned out our new cider press for fall harvest festivals at the Norris Square Neighborhood Project, Heritage Farm, Walnut Hill Farm, CHOP Karabots, Francisville, Overbrook Environmental Education Center, and the Pour the Core Cider Fest.


2016 POP Orchard Survey Results

Results of our 4th annual partner survey provide valuable feedback showing the impact of POP’s programs and guiding our future efforts towards continued improvement. Orchards were again valued most highly as educational spaces and over 4800 people participated in educational programs at POP orchards, up 38% from the previous year! Another 4600 tasted something grown in a POP orchard and 4300 used them as a gathering space in 2016. The survey again showed that almost all orchard produce is distributed within the neighborhood where it’s grown, including 44% harvested directly by community members. POP partners reported orchard yield totals for the year 38% higher than in 2015—over 5,000 pounds. Combined with another 5,000 pounds volunteers picked in our POPHarvest program, that makes for a lot of fruit!  82% of POP partners participated in the survey this year and as a thank you, POP is distributing a requested orchard item, including pruning tools, pole harvesters, produce scales, and guidebooks to all participants.

Read more survey results here!

Together, POP’s community orchards and POPharvest program yielded over 10,000 pounds of fresh fruit this year!

2016 Orchard Partner Stories

Every year we ask our orchard partners to reflect on the year in the orchard, and to share with us stories about what the orchard is providing for their community.

Overbrook School for The Blind

“Our students were able to taste figs for the first time from our fig tree. They would check the tree almost daily to get the figs before the squirrels! In late November, we made fig jam with the students. To quote our student, Elijah, when he tasted the jam: ‘It’s the bomb dot com!’”

— Roseann McLaughlin

Read more partner stories here!


Orchard Update: PhillyEarth @ the Village of Arts

Tucked away on an unassuming side street in North Philly, a large portion of the vacant lots on the west side of the 2500 block of North Warnock Street are buzzing with life and innovation. What once was a series of crumbling rowhomes is now a hub of outdoor learning for young people interested in self-sufficiency, regenerative systems, and improving their connection to the earth through PhillyEarth, a program of the Village of Arts & Humanities.

Read more about the PhillyEarth Orchard here!


POP and Phillyearth transformed vacant lots into a food forest this year!


POP Has a New Home

POP is excited to announce our move into our very first office at The Woodlands, a 54-acre historic landscape that was once a one-of-a-kind 18th-century English pleasure garden, 19th-century rural cemetery, and a modern green oasis for its neighbors in bustling University City and West Philadelphia. We are still working on furnishing our office; please email phil@phillyorchards.org if you’re able to donate any of the following items in good working order:

  • printer/copier/scanner
  • computers (desktop or laptop)
  • space heater


Our new office space at Hamilton Mansion at The Woodlands! The ceiling may be low, but that won’t stop us from growing!

Annual Appeal Update

Thank you again to everyone who helped us during our annual appeal campaign this year! Together we were able to raise $18,552, which supports our work maintaining these community spaces of beauty and bounty, educating volunteers and orchard enthusiasts, and installing new orchards in the city of Philadelphia. We are still just shy of our $20,000 goal, and you can help us get there by making a tax-deductible donation today!

Other Ways You Can Help! 

Your Amazon purchases can benefit POP. . . at no cost to you. 

You can direct Amazon to give a percentage of all purchases to POP

Workplace donations through United Way, Earthshare, Benevity

POP can now accept workplace donations via United Way (#53494), Earthshare, and Benevity: ask your employer about how to set up tax-exempt contributions and matching donations to support our work. We are also now able to accept stock transfers (email phil@phillyorchards.org), so you can divest. . . and then invest in planting the future with POP!

Join POP’s Committees 

We’re always looking for more good volunteers for POP’s operating committees!  To help our Education Committee with developing new blog content, educational materials and curriculum, please contact Alyssa Schimmel (alyssa@phillyorchards.org).  To assist our Events Committee with organizing fundraising events or helping with outreach activities, please contact Tanya Grinblat (tanya@phillyorchards.org).  Experienced volunteers are invited to join POP’s Orchard Committee and work directly with our orchard partners; for more info contact Robyn Mello (robyn@phillyorchards.org).

Volunteer at Orchard Plantings and Events

POP’s fall event season will be announced soon!  To receive updates about upcoming volunteer opportunities, please sign up for our volunteer list on our website (phillyorchards.org/volunteer/signup).



Plant a fruit tree in celebration of a loved one for holidays, birthdays, and other occasions!

POP Newsletter: Summer 2016

Posted on Categories Blog, Home, NewslettersTags , , , , , , , ,
“Knowing that I can return to an orchard twenty years from now and see a tree that I helped to plant is very gratifying!” 
-Tony Dorman, Orchard Liaison Volunteer
We thank you for supporting our vision of a more beautiful, bountiful Philadelphia!
Here are some highlights from our spring season:
  • Planted 32 new fruit trees, 244 berry bushes and vines, and 493 perennials & groundcovers at community orchards across the city!
  • Assisted with brand new orchard plantings at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House and Penn Alexander School
  • Involved 800 volunteers and 1300 participants in more than 90 events including plantings, orchard work days, harvests, and trainings
  • Celebrated our 8th annual Strawberry Festival
  • Kicked off our first ever Juneberry Joy week, harvesting 285 pounds of juneberries
We hope you will take a few minutes to read below about some of the interesting people and stories we encountered along the way.  
Ronald McDonald House volunteers helping at the FNC Lighthouse Orchard!
Please read below for more info about POP’s latest efforts:
  • spring season summary
  • orchard update: Bartram’s Garden
  • upcoming events
  • POP in the news
  • how you can help!

Spring 2016 Season Summary

 
Orchard Plantings.  POP’s core work of planting and supporting community orchards in the city continues to grow, and we are now working with 54 different orchard sites in neighborhoods across the city!  244 volunteers joined with us and our partners at 10 orchard planting events this spring.  Brand new orchards were planted with the Penn Alexander School in West Philly and the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House in North Philadelphia. We also expanded existing orchard sites at Lea Elementary, Penn Park, Overbrook School for the Blind, Casa del Carmen, Philadelphia Montesorri Charter School, Awbury Arboretum, and PhillyEarth at the Village of Arts & Humanities.  To read more about all our orchard partners and view a map of POP sites: phillyorchards.org/orchards.
Volunteers sheetmulching at the Penn Park Orchard, preparing it to be planted as a food forest! 
POPharvest.  This year’s inaugural Juneberry Joy campaign was a delicious success!  From June 7 through 14, we held 7 harvest events throughout the city, picking 285 pounds of juneberries with the help of over 100 volunteers. That’s 285 pounds of fresh fruit saved from going to waste! Many more community members learned of their local orchards, dozens of passersby learned to love this underappreciated berry, and new partnerships with local food and beverage businesses were forged. This year’s Juneberry Joy partners included Li’l Pop Shop, MagPie Artisan Pie Boutique, Weckerly’s Ice Cream, Sazon Restaurant and The Chocolate Alchemist, Funky Fresh Ferments, Higher Grounds Cafe, Random Tea Room, W/N W/N Coffee Bar, and Spruce Hill Preserves! Patrons were able to taste things such as juneberry goat cheese popsicles, juneberry pie, juneberry swirl ice cream, juneberry chocolate bars, juneberry kombucha, juneberry scones, juneberry tea, juneberry salsa, juneberry jelly, and juneberry fruit leather!
Want to participate? Request to join the POPHarvest Google Group for notifications of future harvests!
Our first ever Juneberry Joy campaign was a delicious success! 
Orchard Education.  POP continues to train and educate our orchard partners and the general public about ecological orchard care through a variety of programs.  Over 400 individuals participated in POP educational programs this spring with workshops and trainings on topics including fruit tree care, pruning, grafting, backyard mushroom growing, permaculture and edible eco-system design. We continued our POP TIPS series shared through our Philadelphia Orchard Group (PHOG) listserv and featured the following topics on our new urban orchard blog:

Strawberry Festival
To kick off our summer season we held our 8th annual strawberry festival in partnership with East Park Revitalization Alliance and Historic Strawberry Mansion! Over 100 community members came together on a beautiful June day to harvest strawberries, juneberries, eat a potluck feast, play games, and enjoy the beauty of the Historic Strawberry Mansion orchard. There was even a bee keeper on the grounds to educate us all about bees, beehives, and even give a taste of honey straight from the hive!

Picking strawberries from the Strawberry Mansion Orchard at POP’s 8th annual Strawberry Festival!

Orchard Spotlight: Bartram’s Garden
Big changes are in the works at Bartram’s Garden, the country’s first garden and home of the largest community orchard in the city.  This season, Bartram’s Garden unveiled their first major garden restoration in nearly 100 years. Construction is also underway on the Bartram’s Mile trail, which will connect the Garden to the popular Schuylkill River Trail in Center City as well as provide a new river park and bikepath in Southwest Philadelphia.  Finally, this summer the Farm at Bartram’s Garden has entered a new phase as a neighborhood-based program to support food sovereignty and youth empowerment in Southwest Philadelphia.
To celebrate POP’s commitment to and support of the Farm in its transition, please join us for our Orchard to Table Dinner to be held at Bartram’s Garden on Tuesday, September 13.
The Farm at Bartram’s supports youth empowerment and food sovereignty in Southwest Philadelphia!
Since its founding in 2011, the Farm has always been a hub for learning, sharing, and growth-not to mention delicious food!  With support from POP, the first fruit trees were planted in the Farm’s Orchard in the fall of 2011. The Farm now hosts more than 120 fruit and nut trees, as well as extensive berry plantings.  The Orchard demonstrates the breadth of what can be grown in our region, and its diversity helps illustrate John Bartram‘s significant legacy as a plant collector.  Plantings include heirloom varieties of apples, pears, and other common fruits; unusual fruits like medlars, jujubes, che, and shipova; and a section of native fruits including paw paws, persimmons, and American plums.  Many of the orchard trees are really starting to produce, leading to bumper crops of Nanking cherries, plums, figs, and the first almonds from a POP orchard!

POP Internship Program
This year POP has again expanded our internship program and are proud of the work of 2016 Orchard Apprentice Alkebu-Lan Marcus and POP interns Alyssa Schimmel, Lucia Kearney, Eliza Norrell, and Bridget Downey. POP’s internship program is essential for the organization in expanding the support we provide to our orchard partners while providing young folks with opportunities to get involved with urban agriculture and sustainable living.  This year’s apprentice and interns have been assisting with a wide variety of orchard care, education, gleaning, propagation, and outreach efforts.
“When we gather around to plant, it’s not just a tree that grows, but the whole community grows together.” 
-Bridget Downey, 2016 POP Intern

Read more about Bridget’s POP Internship experience here!

2016 POP Intern Lucia Kearney harvesting Nanking Cherries at Awbury Arboretum!  Photo: Rob Cardillo

Upcoming Events
 
Orchard to Table Dinner, 9/13
Save the date for our Orchard to Table Dinner in collaboration with the Farm at Bartram’s Garden!
 
Pie Making Class with Magpie Artisan Pies, 10/1
Learn to turn one of our prized native fruits into an irresistible baked good with one of Philly’s most talented fruit-fueled businesses! Space is limited to 12 people, so sign up fast!
 
Philadelphia Orchard Week, 10/8 through 10/16
Celebrate our 6th annual Philadelphia Orchard Week with us at a wide variety of harvest festivals, plantings, plant sales, and other orchard events across the city!
More details on the above events and our full fall planting schedule will be announced soon. 

POP in the News!
This season POP was featured in the following media coverage:

How You Can Help! 
Give a fruit tree in celebration or honor of a loved one!
$60 plants a fruit tree in Philadelphia that can provide a community with 150 pounds of fruit per year for decades to come.  Give a gift that keeps giving back!
Your Amazon purchases can benefit POP. . . at no cost to you. 
You can direct Amazon to give a small percentage of all purchases to POP.
Join POP’s Committees 
We’re always looking for more good volunteers for POP’s operating committees!  To help our Education Committee with developing new blog content, educational materials and curriculum, please contact Robyn Mello (robyn@phillyorchards.org).  To assist our Events Committee with organizing fundraising events, tabling at events, or for info about hosting a house party for POP, please contact Tanya Grinblat (tanya@phillyorchards.org).  Experienced volunteers are invited to join POP’s Orchard Committee and work directly with our orchard partners; for more info contact Phil Forsyth (phil@phillyorchards.org).
Volunteer at Orchard Plantings and Events
POP’s fall event season will be announced soon!  To receive updates about upcoming volunteer opportunities, please sign up for our volunteer list on our website (phillyorchards.org/volunteer/signup).
Please use the forward email function below to send this newsletter to friends and family who are interested in our mission to plant and support community orchards in the city of Philadelphia.
Sincerely,

Phil Forsyth, Executive Director
Philadelphia Orchard Project