A Fruitful Partnership Grows Roots to Educate Philly Youth

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The FruitGuys Philadelphia team helped green urban West Philadelphia by sponsoring a fall planting at the Walnut Hill Community Farm through POP (Philadelphia Orchard Project).

FruitGuys Fruit Buyer Jessica gets ready to plant raspberries.FruitGuys Fruit Buyer Jessica gets ready to plant raspberries.

The farm was reclaimed from the urban landscape this past spring through a partnership between The Enterprise Center Community Development Corporation (TEC-CDC) and Philly Rooted, led by farm managers/directors Nic Esposito and Erica Smith. Nic and Erica teach sustainable farming skills to West Philadelphia youth and help them market and sell their produce at the Clark Park Farmer’s Market and local businesses such as Milk and Honey Market.

FruitGuys Production Associate Shawn pitches in.FruitGuys Production Associate Shawn pitches in.

Nic and Erica founded Philly Rooted “to grow community and support the local food economy by developing urban farms” and to promote the incorporation of urban agriculture into local policies.

The FruitGuys sponsored the October 29, 2010 planting by purchasing the planting materials, including more than twenty raspberry bushes and edible trees and shrubs including hazelnuts, elderberries, blackberries, heavenly bamboo, and a rose bush that produces edible rose hips.   POP’s orchard director, Phil Forsyth, sourced the plants. The FruitGuys team also brought along some fruit to help keep volunteers energized.

Fresh fruit that we brought for snacking.Fresh fruit that we brought for snacking.

I enjoyed working with fellow FruitGuys Jessica and Shawn, Erica and Nic of Philly Rooted, Phil from POP, Greg Heller and Imanni Wilkes, managing directors of TED-CDC, and about 30 other volunteers from the community, including members of Phi Kappa Psi, a social fraternity at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, representatives from TED-CDC Street Teams and members of The Philadelphia Urban Food & Fitness Association (PUFFA).   Thanks to all the volunteers who joined in to make this day a huge success. We are excited to be partnering with all of these groups and individuals to help grow healthier communities in Philadelphia.

Happy and windblown FruitGuys - Bridget, Shawn and Jessica post planting.Happy and windblown FruitGuys - Bridget, Shawn and Jessica post planting.

The blustery fall day encouraged an efficient pace as we worked to keep warm, clearing away stony, literally, rubble-filled soils, to make way for nutrient-rich beds full of compost to give the berry bushes,  edible trees, and shrubs a good start.   I am already looking forward to the day when The FruitGuys can purchase fruit from this community farm for our customers to enjoy.   If you live in the area are interested in volunteering, please let me know so that we can invite you to participate in our spring orchard planting!

- Bridget Meigs bridget@fruitguys.com

philly rooted


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Our online magazine offers a taste of workplace culture, trends, and healthy living. It features recipes for easy, delicious work meals and tips on quick office workouts. It's also an opportunity to learn about our GoodWorks program, which helps those in need in our communities and supports small, sustainable farms.