Around Town

Bloomington Community Orchard - Vote Now!

Dear Community Orchardists!

Your Community Orchard Team is in full force, and we need your help!

Vote online and play a simple, yet critical, role in winning Bloomington a grant for a FREE FRUIT ORCHARD which will provide free fruit to the entire community.  *Voting starts this MONDAY, MARCH 15th.*

Vote for the Bloomington Community Orchard at Communities Take Root EVERYDAY between March 15 (12 a.m. PT) and April 30 (11:59 p.m. PT).  Make it your home page and make it simple for yourself to make a major contribution.

Please spread this message widely!!  Anyone anywhere with Internet access can help us win an orchard- so rather than passing along those chain letters, send this blurb to your address book today (and every day until April 30, for that matter). Thank you for helping to make one patch of the earth a better place for everyone!

For more information about the Bloomington Community Orchard visit us online at
Facebook, or e-mail me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), or call me at 812-679-8261.  For more information about the free trees and other support this grant will provide for our Orchard, please see the "participant submission" and "application" documents which will soon uploaded to our Facebook page.

Please read below for a brief update on what we've been up to lately.

The four incredible teams who have taken on building this project have given of their time and talents immeasurably in the past few weeks.  Thank you one and all.

The awesome Operations Team has had a busy few weeks!  Please check out a beautiful design for our Orchard created by Jack Brubaker, soon to be uploaded to our Facebook page.  In addition, the Operations Team has divided into several sub-committees, including Plant Selection, Design, and Soil Improvement, and Volunteer Coordination.  Great work is being done to investigate all the different elements we need to bring together to create a successful orchard.

Lee Huss, Bloomington's Urban Forester, decided that this year's official Arbor Day tree will be in our Orchard!  The Plant Selection sub-committee recommended to Lee that we plant a native paw-paw, which will be donated to us by the City along with a nice commemorative limestone plaque.  In addition, Lee established a designation in the Bloomington Tree Fund for the Community Orchard, so monetary donations for the Orchard can now be made by calling 812-349-3498 or see
Thank you, Lee!

The next Operations Team meeting will be Monday, March 15th at 5:30 pm in the McCloskey Room at City Hall.  Please join us!

The Administrative Team is nearly done drafting a set of bylaws to put before the group.  This governing document will establish a structure by which Orchard decisions will be made.  Stay tuned for more details soon.  Quick and efficient work, team!

The Communications Team has finished setting up list-serves for the individual teams to use for internal communication, and is in the process of establishing a place for the group to store documents so that everyone can access all meeting minutes and other pertinent pieces of information.  If you would like to be added to a particular team's listserv, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  Thank you, Communications!

We have these lovely folks to thank for getting us so far in the process with the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation grant!  Now, the Finance Team is in the process of applying for the "Bloomington in Bloom" grant from the Bloomington Board of Realtors.  The team is applying for money to be put towards fencing for our Orchard.

Thank you for being part of this inspiring community.

Amy Countryman

No Impact Man at the Indiana Theater

Catch No Impact Man at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater on Sunday April 11 at 5pm and 7pm
Special price for Bloomingfoods members!

Lower impact lifestyles are all the rage right now, but what does it feel like to really adopt one? Are they sensible, or simply sensationalist?
ImageIn honor of Earth Day 2010, Bloomingfoods is co-sponsoring two screenings of No Impact Man on Sunday April 11th at 5pm, and again at 7pm, at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. The cost for Bloomingfoods members is $3, and $5 for the general public. Just mention your member number when buying tickets at our stores or at the BCT Box Office.
Whether you are eco-conscious or just eco-anxious (or in a state of eco-denial) you might enjoy this special screening of No Impact Man, the story of Colin Beavan, a self-described “liberal schlub who got tired of listening to himself complain about the world without ever actually doing anything about it.”
Several years ago, in November, 2006, Beavan began a year-long “No Impact Project” in which he, his wife Michelle Conlin, and his then two-year-old daughter (and their four-year-old dog) went off the grid, attempting to live in the middle of New York City with as little environmental impact as possible.
No Impact Man tells the story of that year: its challenges, humorous moments, and the difficult choices demanded by a lower impact lifestyle. The rules of the game were: no more electricity, no more automated transportation, no more non-local food, no more conspicuous consumption. (There’s even something in there about toilet paper.)


Community Orchard Update

ImageWe're pleased to offer this report from Amy Jo Countryman on the first annual meeting of the Bloomington Community Orchard.


Dear Fellow Fruit Lovers,

As you may have heard, you rock the Orchard world!  We have all officially won an orchard from the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation and Edy's Fruit Bars thanks to all of your persistence and enthusiasm.  Thank you.

We are incrementally getting closer to that fateful day when we...plant publicly-owned fruit trees!  Here are the most recent developments.


Homegrown Indiana Farm Tour

Summer Farm Tour
Sunday, July 18, 2010 from 2pm-9pm
Stranger's Hill Farm Hoop HouseTaste a slice of agrarian life on the Summer Homegrown Indiana Farm Tour. Visit three special Monroe County farms: Stranger’s Hill Organics (site of the Hoosier Hills Food Bank Garden), Phoenix Farm, and Marble Hill Farm. Meet the local producers, and enjoy a delicious evening meal at Marble Hill Farm, prepared by Gregg “Rags” Rago of Nick’s English Hut and Jeff Finch of Finch’s Brasserie.
Learn about the organic production of fruits, vegetables, and plant starts at Stranger’s Hill Organic Farm, the oldest continually Certified Organic farm in Indiana (since 1989). In addition to their own operation, owners Dale and Lee Jones (with partners Rick Dietz, George Huntington, Heather Reynolds and Dave Rollo) have donated a half-acre to help create the Hoosier Hills Food Bank Garden. There, volunteers plant, tend, and harvest much-needed organic vegetables for the Hoosier Hills Food Bank and the many agencies it serves. Stranger’s Hill Organics products can be found at Bloomingfoods, the Bloomington Community Farmers Market, and the Tuesday Market.
At Phoenix Farm in Western Monroe County, Chris and Feng Valliant grow their own soybeans, Asian vegetables and other greens, selling them at the co-op, the Farmers Market, and to local restaurants. After a trip to China, where they learned the art of tofu-making from a third-generation tofu master (with the help of Feng’s father), they began to produce small batches of highly filtered artisan tofu with a smooth, rich, traditional texture.
Marble Hill Farm is located in southwest Monroe County. Owners Kip and Whitney Schlegel raise Angus beef on 150 acres, where their herd of cows and calves roam freely on lush green pastures. The farm’s state certified and inspected beef is free of hormones and antibiotics. Marble Hill Farm is also home to Nubian and Alpine goats, as well as a mixed breed of brown egg laying chickens. Marble Hill Farm products (including Angus beef, eggs, and seasonal produce) are available at the Bloomington Community Farmers Market, and by request from the farm.
This tour travels by school bus from Showers Common at 401 North Morton Street. (Please note that the bus is not air-conditioned.) Participants are encouraged to bring a hat, sunscreen, a snack, and water. Dress comfortably, with walking shoes: there will be some robust walks on uneven terrain. The tour will take place rain or shine. The schedule may be altered in the event of severe weather.
Check-in begins at 1:15, and buses depart at 2pm.
The cost, which includes an evening meal at Marble Hill Farm, is $60 per person.
Register by July 12 in the Bloomington Parks and Recreation office at 401 North Morton Street, Suite 250 or online at (the code is 56502 A).
For more information, contact Marcia Veldman at 812-349-3738 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Co-sponsored by Bloomington Parks and Recreation, Slow Food Bloomington, the Local Growers Guild and Bloomingfoods Market and Deli with special thanks to Nick’s English Hut, Finch’s Brasserie and Oliver Winery.

Community Orchard News for July

The Orchard e-mail list has been quiet the past few weeks, but there has been a LOT going on lately with all things fruity.   May I tell you?

First, we have officially set a planting date with the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation (FTPF) to put our first trees in the ground!  Please, mark your calendars now for ***Saturday, October 9, 2010 at 10 am***!  We'll learn how to properly plant from the FTPF arborist, put our sweet babies in the ground, and have a celebrational picnic afterwards.  Thank YOU for all your votes that won us all this grant!  Please join us for the fantastic culmination of those efforts.