Urban Farmers are Growing Fruit Trees in Philadelphia. Really.

Consider this apparent oxymoron: urban orchards.

It’s a reality in Philadelphia, the sixth largest city by population in the United States.

Enabling the creation of urban orchards is exactly what the Philadelphia Orchard Project (POP) is doing. This nonprofit organization plants and supports community orchards in the city of Philadelphia. Growing locally is one way to increase access to fresh fruit and vegetables and expand sustainability.

Photo: Philadelphia Orchard Project. 2020 Annual Report.

Philadelphia Orchard Project helps boost nutritional intake by increasing access to fresh fruit and vegetables for often under-served inner city populations. POP requires that “the harvest (or proceeds from its sale) go to benefit low-wealth communities.”

According to POP, “the exact mix of trees and plants in each orchard depends upon our community partner’s preferences as well as strategies for sustaining healthy, productive orchards.” This includes, for example:

  • Fruit and Nut Trees: almonds, apples, Asian pears, peaches, plums and more
  • Shrubs and Berry Bushes: blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and more
Photo: Persimmons. Philadelphia Orchard Project.

There are additional benefits. POP notes that “orchards help establish agriculture as a permanent part of the city’s environment, economy, and culture.” Further, more city green space is good for the environment. As POP explains:

  • “Trees shade the city, reducing air conditioning costs and improving air quality;”
  • “Fruit and nut trees sequester more carbon emissions than the softwood trees typically planted for carbon offsets.”

Philadelphia Orchard Project’s work is emblematic of food movements taking place globally that can be unseen, not widely recognized or little known, such as restaurants utilizing locally grown ingredients; supermarkets sourcing and selling locally grown produce; and the nascent indoor farming industry, often located in cities.

Growing fruits and vegetables in urban geography for local consumption also supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) issued by the United Nations, in particular:

  • Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture;”
  • Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages;”
  • Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.”

Harvey Chimoff is a customer-focused global business leader who connects marketing across the organization to drive performance and achieve business objectives. His B2B and CPG marketing expertise includes agribusiness, ingredients and food and beverage. Contact him at harveychimoff.com.

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