By Katrina Janco
On Saturday, June 23rd, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Orchard Project will partner to host Petal Pedal, a ride exploring orchards in Fairmount Park and Strawberry Mansion.
The Philadelphia Orchard Project, or POP, works with community partners to design food forests that provide food, habitat, retreat, and refuge for communities all over the city, though planting in areas of low-wealth and low food access.
Each of the 61 sites is designed using permaculture principles of food forestry, meaning each space utilizes rich, densely planted layers that include trees, shrubs, vines, and perennial herbs that help build soil fertility, and improve pollinator access to food.
Plantings include common fruits like apples, pears, peaches, and more uncommon fruits including North American natives like juneberries, aronia, paw paws, and some other favorites like figs, goumi fruit, raspberries, and blackberries.
This ride will starting at the Philadelphia Art Museum, and then go through several orchards in Fairmount Park. The first stop will be at the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center’s Food Forest, then the orchards at the Historic Strawberry Mansion and the Woodford Mansion, and ending at SHARE Food Program’s orchard with some rest and refreshments before riding back to the museum. The ride will cover approximately 12 miles round trip, and contains some hills.
The tour through these four spaces will highlight some of POP’s core principles and address aspects of design, sustainability, and celebration. At each stop, riders will walk through the orchards to touch and smell the various plantings and learn about their benefits, how to group plantings for maximum yield and growth, and enjoy tasting fresh fruit and herbs along the way. This is a perfect ride for anyone interested in connecting to a community network of earth tenders in the city, food and fruit growing, culinary crafting, and creation.
There is also a discount if you register with a friend! When you sign up to ride with a friend, you both get $5 off. Use the code “PETALFRIEND” to receive the discount.