Thursday, October 24, 2013

Food Forest Demonstration Garden

Philadelphia Master Gardeners in collaboration with the Philadelphia Orchard Project (POP), Fairmount Park Conservancy and the Department of Parks and Recreation planted the first phase of the new Permaculture Food Forest Demonstration Garden at the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center on Saturday October 19th.

This new orchard can be found next to the Butterfly Garden on the Horticulture grounds and is adjacent to the Japenese House, and a few steps away from the Master Gardener Edible Garden in the park. Over the next year, a varity of trees, shrubs and understory plants will be planted in stages.  The Master Gardeners will help maintain the orchard with other volunteers, help provide signage, and have an opportunity for educational and hands on programming for the community with this project.

Planning the orchard and learning about the proper planting depth of the trees, how to work with the roots and mulching correctly.

       Apples, Plums and Pears of different variesties.

Shinseiki Asian Pear
HoneyCrisp Apples
Santa Rosa Plum

Chehalis Apple


Protecting and Watering........... final steps to a proper planting.

A job well done with an invitiation to Orchard Day on 

Saturday, October 26... 09:00 AM
Join in on our 3rd annual Philadelphia Orchard Day! This city wide event features harvest festivals, plantings, work days, fruit tastings and other events at orchard sites across the city. Philadelphia Orchard Day is intended to highlight the wonderful work of our community partners and the celebrate the fantastic fruit growing in neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia. See individual event postings by clicking the link

For additional information on this project here is some background information.

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation released the Parkland Forest Management Framework in October 2013. The plan is a guide to long-term healthy and sustainable forest management for Philadelphia’s parkland forests. It is a living document that results in a set of activities and steps that return healthy functioning and self-perpetuating processes to the forests.     Parkland Plan PDF

Joan S. Blaustein, Director
Urban Forestry and Ecosystem Management Division, 
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation wrote:

"The Framework lays out a series of goals, including expanding and connecting existing forests, meadows, shrub lands, and wetlands to create longer corridors, and engaging the assistance of volunteers, friends groups, local experts, government agencies and others to help implement these goals.  The plan also recommends a number of pilot projects related to those goals to provide opportunities to test approaches and methods across a spectrum of forest resource needs and that also can be tailored to spread pilot projects out across the system parklands and diverse neighborhoods. Pilot projects have the added potential benefit of garnering stakeholder support, providing stewardship opportunities, and for collaborating with partnering organizations and funders.  

One of the first pilot projects to be implemented is the Agroforestry Edges, which by creating food forests, will enhance and expand edge conditions along forested areas to enhanced tree cover along wooded edges that promote woodland function, while supporting productive landscapes (nut or fruit harvest), community engagement and awareness.  We selected the location at the Horticultural Center for a number of reasons:  it is a highly visible location where we can educate the public about permaculture and food forests, we have the active participation of the Penn State Master Gardeners who will maintain the forest, and easy access.  

The Department of Parks and Recreation’s mission of connecting people to the land as well as providing public amenities in open spaces makes this department a natural home for urban agriculture in a variety of settings.   Parks & Recreation has supported a number of orchards on our sites already, including Woodford Mansion, Bartram’s Garden, and soon Strawberry Mansion and the Carousel House.  FarmPhilly, a new program will directly engage Philadelphians in improving their communities through the urban agriculture by saving long-term community gardens that are currently on vacant land and facilitating the creation of new urban agriculture projects on vacant land. We will also continue to look for locations to create Agroforestry Edges in our parkland as a way to expand our forests. "

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