Philadelphia Orchard Project celebrates Philly’s growing urban orchards

Fall conjures images of the harvest, but for the Philadelphia Orchard Project (POP) it’s also time to plant new fruiting trees and vines, build trellises, and prepare Philly’s orchards for cold weather.

To celebrate and add to the bounty of Philly’s urban orchards, POP has named Saturday, October 22 Orchard Day, and eight POP orchards will host events including volunteer work, tastings, tours, and workshops.

In 2007 POP started with a simple but powerful idea: grow healthy food in neighborhood green spaces in order to increase community food security. To date POP has planted 27 orchards, adding 302 trees and 620 shrubs and vines to Philadelphia neighborhoods.

Find out more about Philadelphia Orchard Projects by clicking to view in a larger map.

POP works with established institutions and community groups to plant orchards, and their projects can be found at schools, historic sites, in Fairmount Park, and on lots dotted throughout the city. Phil Forsyth, POP’s Orchard Director, told me Orchard Day is POP’s way of highlighting their community partners, attracting new volunteers to orchard sites, and encouraging neighbors to engage with orchards in their communities.

Volunteers in action at Woodford Orchard in Strawberry Mansion. | Philadelphia Orchard Project
(Volunteers in action at Woodford Orchard in Strawberry Mansion. | Philadelphia Orchard Project)

All of the maintenance, tree-tending, and harvesting falls to POP’s community partners, but volunteers are always invited to lend a hand. You can get in on the action at POP’s first Orchard Day, held Saturday, October 22 at sites throughout the city. If you’re interested in volunteering visit POP’s website to learn more and sign up. Consider yourselves invited.

More info about Orchard Day:

From POP’s email invitation to participate: We invite you to participate in this season’s POP events, working alongside volunteers from our community partners to plant and maintain orchards all over the city. Volunteers of all ages and skill levels are welcome. These events often involve digging, planting, and spreading compost and mulch, so expect to get dirty. We can’t guarantee tools for all; if you bring your own, it is advisable to write your name on them. Snacks and beverages to share are also welcome. POP’s Orchard Day events descriptions:

  • Point Breeze Ave & Titan St @ 12pm. Celebrate the first annual Point Breeze Orchard Fall Festival with pumpkin painting, Halloween photo booth, healthy fruit and snacks, and yoga exercise demonstration! Located at a future POP orchard site to be planted in partnership with the Point Breeze Ave Business Association.
  • SHARE, 2901 Hunting Park Ave @ 10am. Help expand the orchards at SHARE’s award-winning urban demonstration farm with new plantings and construction of a kiwi trellis. RAINDATE: Sunday, 10/23 @ 1pm
  • Roxborough High School, 6498 Ridge Ave @ 10am. Help students from Roxborough High School in mulching and planting their new courtyard orchard!  Other school improvement activities 9am – 2pm.  Snack on fresh local fruit!
  • Grumblethorpe, 5267 Germantown Ave @ 2pm. Grumblethorpe will be offering free apple tasting and tours of the orchard and gardens from 2-4pm. Followed by a Halloween party ($3 kids/$5 adults/$12 families) from 5-9pm with food and scary tours of this Germantown historic house.
  • Fairhill Burial Ground, 9th and Indiana streets @ 10am. Celebrate Orchard Day in Fairhill, POP’s first orchard neighborhood, with gardening & tree planting (10am-12), neighborhood orchard tour and workshops on homegrown sprouts and homemade shampoo (12-1pm), and food, crafts and games (1-3pm).
  • Greenfield Elementary, 23rd and Sansom @10am. Lend a hand with volunteers from Greenfield Elementary in completing various horticultural projects. Tour the mini forest garden and check out this remarkable green schoolyard!
  • Richard Allen Prep Charter School, 58th St and Lindbergh Blvd @10am. Help out with a day of garden orchard care at the Richard Allen Preparatory Charter School. Weeding, mulching, bulb planting, and fresh local fruit!
  • Village of Arts & Humanities, 2544 Germantown Ave @1pm. Don’t miss The Village’s Spooktacular Fall Festival with family-friendly crafts, great food, hayrides, scarecrow contest and the scariest haunted house in the city. Watch fashion and dance performances by Village teens and indulge in fall flavors with chocolate and wine tasting from John & Kira’s.


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