Orchard Volunteer Appreciation Gathering

April 7, 2017 | 10:30 am | Share

Time: 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Date: 04/23/17 
Location: Bloomington Community Orchard Site & Shelter 

Come join us for our first annual Spring Volunteer Appreciation Event!

Join us for light snacks – provided by the BCO or a vendor – a (nonalcoholic) cider toast, live music, and help us give thanks for the wonderful volunteers we’ve had this year!

Check our Facebook Site for up to date even updates

April Tip of the Month

April 7, 2017 | 10:06 am | Share

April is a great time to plant new fruit trees. When receiving bare-root trees by delivery services, it is best to plant them as soon as possible after arrival. 

If the weather or your schedule prevents immediate planting, check to be sure the plants are the ones you ordered,  that they are undamaged, and that the roots are wet. Leave them in their packaging in a cool place if they can be planted in a few days. If planting must be delayed longer than three days, heel them in or pot them until they can be planted. It is essential that the roots remain wet until the trees are planted. Before planting, soak the roots for thirty minutes in tepid water to which liquid kelp has been added. This will help with transplant shock. The water in which the roots are soaked may be added to the water applied to the roots of the trees after planting. Clip off any damaged roots before planting. 

Once the trees are planted, be sure to water regularly if the soil dries between rainfalls. At six inches below the surface, the soil should always feel moist to the touch (but not soggy). Adequate water from rain or artificial irrigation is essential to the survival of trees, especially during the first three years after planting.


H. Michael Simmons,
Orchard Education Co-Chair
Advanced Master Gardener

Orchard volunteers take home the Be More Sustainable Award!

April 7, 2017 | 9:34 am | Share

Last week, volunteers from the Orchard attended the 2017 Be More Awards ceremony to celebrate and support the dedicated volunteers throughout the community, who make missions like the Orchard’s possible. It was an inspiring evening – a time to come together, celebrate, and share stories of impact – and we all enjoyed hearing some of the many reasons that make Bloomington such an incredible place to live.

Photo by: Josh David

This year, the Orchard was honored to be the recipients of the “Be More Sustainable” Award, thanks to the hard-work and passionate impact our volunteers make in the local and at-large communities.  As Marc McAleavey, State Service Director at Serve Indiana, put it: “the environment isn’t the only beneficiary of the love here… As I learned more about [the Orchard]… I learned about a truly award-winning transaction that has been planted. The transaction of people caring for each other, caring for each other’s health, and caring for our planet in a way that generates a deeply rich empathy. I believe that the empathy that grows as a result of [the Orchard]’s community action has the power to change the world.” The Be More Sustainable award was one of ten awards that were presented to community members and organizations. Click here to see all of the award recipients and how they’re helping the Bloomington community!

Photo by: Mac McLaughlin

Thank you to all of the sponsors of the Be More Awards: The City of Bloomington Volunteer Network, the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County, the IU Credit Union, the United Way of Monroe County and WTIU Public Television.

We also want to thank Nick’s English Hut for hosting the after-party for the Be More Awards and for Natalie Cabanaw for organizing the celebration.  Nick’s donated 20% of the night’s proceeds from food sales and Natalie (and her fellow staff) donated the evening’s tips to the organization with the most members in attendance.  Once again, our volunteers astounded us by rallying together and coming to the after-party in tremendous numbers, bringing home $568.00 (in addition to the $500 Be More Sustainable Award)!

While we don’t do it for the recognition, it is certainly appreciated.  A big thank you to all the volunteers, both in and outside the Orchard, for making Bloomington such an incredible community.  You all certainly deserve an award for your love and support.  

See you in the Orchard!

Cup & Kettle – May Nonprofit Beneficiary

March 23, 2017 | 2:16 pm | Share


Title: Cup & Kettle – May Nonprofit Beneficiary
Location: Cup & Kettle Tea Shop – 208 N Walnut, Bloomington, IN
Description: During the month May 2017, tips from Cup & Kettle Tea Shop will go to benefit the Orchard.

Cup & Kettle Tea Shop is a new establishment located on Walnut between 6th and 7th streets in downtown Bloomington. Owners Kayla Maklonado and Jessica Messmer have been local garden and BCO supporters for a long time. Not only are t hey supporting the BCO through their April tips program, but they also contribute to our composting project and hope to collaborate with our educational programming.

For more information, please contact development@bloomingtoncommunityorchard.org.
Start Date: 2017-05-01
End Date: 2017-05-31

Yoga with the Bloomington Community Orchard – A Benefit Class

March 23, 2017 | 1:53 pm | Share

Rise with the Orchard and Celebrate Mind, Body, and Nature.

Saturday, May 6th from 10-11am.

Join us at the Orchard in celebration of nature and our bodies. Not only do we nourish ourselves through natural produce, like the fruit the Orchard provides us, but we also nourish our bodies and spirits through exercise and self-care. Ruthie Cohen will lead an hour long yoga class that is free to attend. We encourage attendees to make a donation in support of the Orchard and the organic produce and gardening education it provides to our community.

All experience levels welcome for this gentle flow class.

*In case of poor weather conditions, this class will be rescheduled for Saturday, May 13 from 10-11am at the Orchard. For more information, please contact development@bloomingtoncommunityorchard.org.

You’re Invited to the 2017 Be More Awards!

March 15, 2017 | 3:24 pm | Share

Tip of the Month: March

March 12, 2017 | 2:31 pm | Share

Fruit trees are preparing to break dormancy and begin growing. Given the unusual warmth of February this year, some have moved a little too quickly into the new growth cycle.  Nevertheless, as the trees begin to prepare buds for opening, they will need nutrients.  Now is a great time to apply organic fertilizers.  The area of application varies, depending on the age of the tree. For trees planted last fall, rake back the mulch and apply fertilizer in the area of the planting hole, starting at least six inches from the trunk.  Cover with .5 inch of compost, re-mulch, and water.  For older trees that have begun to grow roots beyond the planting hole, apply fertilizer in a ban from two-thirds the distance from the trunk to the canopy drip line to just outside the drip line, covering the application with .5 inch of compost, re-mulching, and watering.  If using commercial organic fertilizer formulated for fruit trees, follow the instructions on the packaging for amounts.  If mixing your own, apply at the rate of .1 lb. of actual nitrogen per year of age of the tree or per inch of trunk diameter measured one foot above the ground.  One pound of actual nitrogen is the maximum to give a tree in a year. Producing trees that are showing adequate shoot growth may need less or even no additional nitrogen at all.
H. Michael Simmons,
Orchard Education Co-Chair
Advanced Master Gardener

Dormant Pruning of Fruit Trees! Pop Up Work and Learn Days

March 3, 2017 | 9:21 am | Share

The Orchard Work and Learn Day season is officially open! We’re starting the season with a series of “Pop Up Pruning” Work and Learn Days.

Please join us at the Orchard every Saturday in March from 2-5pm and every Tuesday in March from 1-3pm for dormant tree pruning.

No prior pruning experience is necessary, so stop on by and we’ll show you the ropes!

These pruning work and learn days are geared for volunteers 12 years and older, but younger volunteers are welcome to come and hang out at the orchard! A parent’s signature will be required for volunteers who are under 18 years old.


Saturday, March 4th 2-5 pm
Tuesday, March 7th 1-3 pm
Saturday, March 11th 2-5 pm
Tuesday, March 14th 1-3 pm
Saturday, March 18th 2-5 pm
Tuesday, March 21 1-3 pm
Saturday, March 25th 2-5 pm
Tuesday, March 28th 1-3 pm

Volunteer Spotlight: Michael Herron

March 1, 2017 | 3:18 pm | Share


Michael Herron connected with BCO at our annual Hibernation Celebration in January 2016 and showed interest in the operations team.  He participated in the Orchard’s Work and Learn Day leader training and quickly became a capable leader.  In addition to the weekly Work and Learn Days, Michael regularly helps with individuals and groups who visit the orchard at other times.

Going into the 2016 fall season, many of the other leaders were no longer able to give as much of their time to the Work and Learn Days.  Without hesitation, Michael stepped in to help fill the gaps and keep W&L Days going strong throughout the fall.  Michael also had a big role during our annual Cider Fest by helping people dig up and pot strawberry and blackberry plants to take home.  We not only love giving away free fruit and plants, but also educating the recipients on the proper care of the plants once they get to their final destinations and Michael was instrumental in helping us to achieve our goal!  Many plants were given away helping both the orchard and our community. 

Michael: “I started coming to the Orchard because I wanted to participate in sustainable food growing, and I’ve since found a place and a group of people that I love and am always learning from.  It’s really cool to be part of a community of such caring people building meaningful relationships with each other and with plants.  I love what we do [at the Orchard].  There’s really nothing I’d rather do with my time than help take care of such a special place.  Picking fresh berries and peaches all summer is a sweet bonus!” 

Michael had a tremendous impact in the Orchard’s operations team and we look forward to working with him during the 2017 Work and Learn Days, beginning April 1.  So if you find yourself at the Orchard and see Michael at one of the Work and Learn Days, don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation with him! 

2016 Annual Report

January 31, 2017 | 10:43 am | Share

Thank you to everyone for their hard work and dedication during the 2016 growing season!  Below you will find a link to our 2016 Annual Report, as well as the Orchard’s plans for 2017 and beyond.

2016 Accomplishments

Just to name a few…

  • More youth education programs than ever.
  • 18 partner plantings (to date), including our first partner planting in Indianapolis, with KIPP Indy Public Schools.
  • Launch of a BCO-Ivy Tech student group.
  • Earth Day events at multiple schools and the La Casa Latino Cultural Center at IU.
  • More propagation efforts than ever, for people to take home free trees & shrubs.

2016 Annual Report