Benicia Community Orchard (BCO) was established in March 2014 on an open portion of land at Heritage Presbyterian Church, a long-time venerable partner of BCG. It consists of 18 trees obtained through a partnership with Common Vision, a non-profit organization.
BCO is organized in a manner similar to the way we established our community gardens. A group of Benicia residents helped to install the orchard and will continue to care for it. As the young orchard matures, we will share harvests among each other and with community members in need. BCO is financed primarily through modest membership fees to be self-sustaining as a program of BCG, with some help from BCG general funds.
BCO represents the Board’s efforts to secure sustainable food sources in Benicia. After a five-year planning process, it was clear BCG needed to focus on perennial plants – such as found in fruit orchards, food forests, and permaculture gardens. BCG envisioned a small, productive and beautiful orchard that would provide a mix of fruits, proteins (nuts) and fats (avocado).
Looking at the modern trends in commercial and backyard fruit tree management, it was clear that the best strategy was to plant our trees on full-size or semi-dwarf rootstocks, and keep the trees small, using techniques of severe pruning, to keep the height under eight feet. Strong roots allow for vigorous growth, and pruning keeps the trees at a manageable size.
How to Join
Caring for the Orchard:
More pictures of the installation and workshop here.