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
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

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 band 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
Advance 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



Speaker’s Bureau Advocacy Group Workshop

January 26, 2017 | 5:29 pm | Share

Location: Monroe County Public Library; Room 1B

Date: Thursday, February 2nd, 6:30-8:00pm

Facebook Event: Click here

 Are you looking for an involvement opportunity in your community? Do you have a strong interest in advocating for a non-profit organization? Would you like to improve your public speaking skills?

If so, the Bloomington Community Orchard invites you to join the Speaker’s Bureau Team!

The BCO Speaker’s Bureau is a project of the Outreach Team that focuses on relaying the stories of the orchard to the community in a variety of venues and contexts, from tabling to classroom presentations. Along with the opportunity to become more involved in the community orcharding movement through promoting the BCO, being a part of this program provides a great opportunity for growing in your own public speaking/communication skills and experience in advocating for any cause that is meaningful to you.

If this opportunity sparks your interest, please join us for our first training led by two non-profit organizations, BTCC and Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, on February 2nd at the Monroe County Public Library in room 1B.

Event Information:

“Join Building a Thriving Compassionate Community (BTCC) and Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard to explore and practice personal narrative techniques used by advocates to work for social justice. We’ll explore 2 tools you can use as a vehicle for your passion about a cause or organization. These tools come from the advocates at RESULTS, “a movement of passionate, committed everyday people. Together they use their voices to influence political decisions that will bring an end to poverty.” Let’s come together and craft the narratives needed to build community and social justice!”

A Day Of Service – MLK Day 2017

January 23, 2017 | 4:55 pm | Share

“Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

On a cold and rainy Monday afternoon, twenty-two volunteers braved the cold and donated 66 hours of service to the Orchard’s A Day of Service program. Volunteers young and old first participated in a soil amendments workshop taught by Michael Simmons and then got their hands dirty bagging soil amendments for future tree giveaways and weatherized mason bee homes.  

Although it may be cold outside and our native pollinators are hibernating, we are always thinking of how to attract more each spring! One of our favorite pollinators are the mason bees and we have just the perfect homes for them, which were constructed during the 2016 MLK Day of Service event!  This year our volunteers helped to weatherize the homes by coating them with tung oil. Once applied, tung oil hardens and creates a natural barrier against the elements, allowing for the mason bee homes to last longer out in the elements. Keep your eyes open as you browse through town!  Mason bee homes will be popping up around Bloomington this spring with the help of the boy scouts who helped to weatherize them!  


We will also be giving away the soil amendments during our tree giveaway events to ensure that the trees have a well balanced foundation during spring and fall planting. Keep an eye out on our calendar of events and on our social media feed for opportunities to receive free fruit trees!  

BCO’s vision is “to inspire communities to cultivate thriving systems of sharing and growing fruit” and through the help of our wonderful volunteers during the MLK Day of Service, we are one step closer. Thank you to all the volunteers who came out for the MLK Day of Service event! Whether you have the time, skills, or resources to help the Orchard create an abundant harvest for all to enjoy, we’d love to have you involved. If you’re interested in fining out how you or your group can create a lasting impact in our community, please contact us at

A Day for the Apples: Celebrating Johnny Appleseed Day

September 26, 2016 | 11:13 am | Share

Many of us have likely heard the stories and songs that tell the tale of Johnny Appleseed, the legendary wanderer who carried around apple seeds in a sack and gave out tree saplings wherever he roamed. We even have an annual holiday, Johnny Appleseed Day, which takes places every year on September 26th to honor his impact on our cultural heritage.

But who exactly was Johnny Appleseed?

Johnny Appleseed was born in Massachusetts as John Chapman on September 26, 1775. As a young man, Chapman decided to leave his home in Massachusetts and head west, traveling through Pennsylvania before eventually ending up in Ohio. Along the way, Chapman brought 16 bushels of apple seeds (that’s nearly 150 gallons!) along with him, which he eventually used to help set up his apple orchards and nurseries. It was during this time that Chapman earned the nickname Johnny Appleseed, becoming well known throughout the west not only for his work as a businessman, but also for his role as a missionary, his passion for environmental conservation, his relationships with local Native American tribes, and his love of storytelling. By the end of his stay in Ohio, Chapman had acquired over 1,000 acres of farmlands that he dedicated to growing apple trees. He later relocated to Fort Wayne, IN, where he yet again established expansive apple orchards and remained until his death in 1845, at the age of 70.

Interestingly, many the apple trees that Chapman grew so prolifically in his lifetime were nothing like the apples with which many of us are so familiar. The sour and bitter apples that Chapman often planted were not meant to be eaten, but rather processed to make apple cider, an extremely popular drink in the nineteenth century. Although the Bloomington Community Orchard does not produce many of the varieties that Chapman would have likely grown, the Orchard grows a wide range of apple trees that would like make Johnny Appleseed proud. Some of the varieties that we grow include: GoldRush, Liberty, Enterprise, Ashmead’s Kernel, Arkansas Black Spur, and Redfree.  Can you locate them on the Orchard map below?  See if you can point them out the next time you’re at the Orchard during one of our Work & Learn Days, or during Cider Fest!

While the apple varieties that are planted in the Community Orchard have evolved from those that were planted in Chapman’s day, many of the values and ideals that Johnny Appleseed’s life represents – generosity to surrounding communities, love of nature, and passion for conservation – are some of the very same ideals that have defined the Orchard and influenced its growth over the years. Here, in our vibrant and locally maintained orchard, the spirit and mission of Johnny Appleseed lives on.

So this year, on September 26th, celebrate the life and legend of Johnny Appleseed with a visit to the Bloomington Community Orchard and a bite of a delicious, locally grown apple!



Geiling, Natasha. “The Real Johnny Appleseed Brought Apples – and Booze – to the American Frontier.” Smithsonian, November 10, 2014. Retrieved from

Library of Congress. “Appleseed was Born.” Retrieved from

The Johnny Appleseed Educational Center and Museum. “The Man Johnny Appleseed.” (2016). Urbana University. Retrieved from

~Written by: Sarah Klimek


Orchard Map Key

Orchard Map Key