Fruits • Nuts • Berries • Perennials

Mission: to plant orchards within the city of Philadelphia, in order to provide healthy food free or at low cost, create jobs, stimulate related business, reduce crime, increase summer cooling, make space for beauty and play.

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Philly: The Next Great Orchard

Filadelfia: El Huerto Gran el Próximo

Philadelphia will become the "next great city" by rebuilding itself as an American refuge from expensive oil and gas.

Peak Oil, global warming, de-industrialization, the rise of China and Europe, the declining dollar, population growth and limits to U.S. military power are combining to end cheap fuel, cheap food, cheap homes, cheap consumer goods and cheap land. Everything will soon change.

Most American cities have paved themselves into a corner. To survive, they bring food and fuel from great distances. They are like armies camped far from their sources of supply. All will transform, or fade.

Philadelphia, in the midst of this storm, has an advantage no other American metropolis has-- 40,000 vacant lots and 700 empty factories. Between 1960 and 1990, hundreds of thousands of solid industrial jobs were stolen from Philadelphia workers. When these jobs shipped away to Asia and Latin America, many Philly neighborhoods were destroyed.

Today these huge derelict areas allow us to create a future that works. They are a blank canvas for painting a city that will be stronger, more beautiful, more abundant and fair than any in our hemisphere. Big Money says fill these vacancies with cash machines: condos, casinos and headquarters that pay major taxes. Yet if we did so, Philly would become instead the "next failed city." Smart Money says something different. There are billions of dollars to be made by becomg the first American metropolis to grow most of its own food.

Thousands of acres of urban orchards here will multiply their harvest value, by creating many categories of related jobs and thus reducing the costs of crimefighting, jail building and incarceration.

Getting neighbors outdoors working together makes neighborhoods safer. Giving kids valuable farm skills builds career confidence and pride. Happier kids resist drugs. Trees provide cleaner air, better nutrition and better exercise, which means less public cost for healing sickness. Their shade reduces costs to heat and cool homes. Tourists will come here to enjoy the scene, and learn how we did it.

Amid these orchards we can construct clusters of supremely energy-efficient earth-sheltered housing, needing one tenth the fossil fuels to warm and cool them. Ecological colonies (ecolonies) grow food on roofs, recycle rainwater and greywater. These neighborhoods would be linked by light rail and bikepaths. Some streets can be reclaimed for gardens and play. Property values would rise and neighborhood businesses bloom.

All of the above notions are proven practical elsewhere. We need merely to combine them here, setting the nation's pace for greatness. Our challenge is to make these likely by proper zoning and tax incentives, buying and planting land.

The Philly Orchard Project (POP) organizes the skills and capital to make this happen. You're welcome to join us at our potluck meetings, to donate land or money for land, to connect us to people with orchard skills, and to neighbors willing to help.

Paul Glover (215) 805-8330

Companion Planters in Philadelphia

Fair Food Project
Farm to City
Greensgrow Farm
Mill Creek Urban Farm
Neighborhood Gardens Association
Philadelphia Green
Somerton Tanks Farm
University City Green
Urban Nutrition Initiative
Urban Tree Connection
Weavers Way Farm

DONATE: tax-deductible donations may be made to:
Community Health Collaborative (memo: POP) and mailed to: 514 Wellesley Rd, Philadelphia, PA 19119

Grow an Orchard: Earthworks
Forest Gardening

Frequently Asked Questions

Why orchards? Why not cash crops?
* Trees declare that agriculture is a permanent part of Philly's economy and culture.
* Trees provide free and low-cost food for low-income neighbors.
* Trees require skill to maintain but are less labor-intensive.
* Trees shade the city, reducing fuel costs.

What about pests (rats, etc.)?
* Vacant lots already breed pests. Fruit/nut orchards clean out debris, clean up soil. Flushed into the open by orchard-building, surviving rats will feed the city's many cats. We can install barn owl boxes.

Will this mean pesticide in my neighborhood?
POP will use non-toxic Integrate Pest Management, fighting bugs with bugs.

Who does the fruit belong to?
Some neighborhoods will invite free harvest, some distribution/sale will be coordinated by neighborhood organizations, some maintained as community-based farms.

How will you protect it from theft?
Gates and low fencing can invite people to enter as helpers rather than thieves. Community gardeners already rely on neighborhood respect and restraint, but free harvest would not be punished. The hungry should eat.


• FOREST GARDEN: tended casually, for free harvest
NEIGHBORHOOD ORCHARD/GARDEN: free harvest donated to low-income residents
EDIBLE PARK: maintained by community group, “tree scouts” and/or City for free harvest.
EDIBLE COMMUNITY CENTER: combined with buildings for related events, festivals, classes, greenhousing.
NONPROFIT NEIGHBORHOOD BUSINESS: sales of harvest to farmer’s markets, restaurants, grocers, caterers.
NONPROFIT URBAN FARM: lot leased from land trust.

in Other Cities

• Austin Treefolks Urban Orchard Program
• Boston Earthworks Urban Orchard Program
• Los Angeles TreePeople Fruit Tree Program
• Memphis Botanical Garden
• Milwaukee Walnut Way Conservation Corps
• San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners
• Texas Urban Orchard Project
• Vancouver BC Edible Parks
• Victoria BC Fruit Tree Project
• Victoria BC #2 LIfecycles Project
• Bradford UK Bowling Park Community Orchard
• Scotland Growing Food in Cities
• Community Food Projects CFP Grants
via conservation easements
• Urban Ohioans Favor Tax for Green Space

Need innovative sustainable landscape architecture?
try Forsyth Gardens