What We’ve Been Up To

Getting our organization off the ground has been very busy and exciting! Here are the highlights from our first year:

1. 501(c)(3) Non-Profit. In February 2019 we received status as an educational 501(c)(3) from the IRS.

2. Land Purchase. In March 2019, Randolph Community Orchard Inc. purchased the conserved 22-acre parcel of land at Exit 4. We are proud to steward this land for public enjoyment and recreation while the community orchard grows.

3. Connection with the local school system.  RCO taught four classes at Randolph Technical Career Center on grafting, pruning, and the importance of perennial agriculture. In March, the students came up to the land at Exit 4 to assist with pruning apple trees. We look forward to cultivating our relationship with the school system over the years.

  1. Orchard Founder and Director Camden Walters teaching students in the Diversified Ag Program how to graft apple trees.

    4. Formation of Orchard Care Club.
    In April 2019 we hosted a community information session at Kimball Public Library. We discussed plans for the orchard, our mission and philosophy, and how the orchard will function financially.  Many attendees joined the Orchard Care Club, a group that stewards the land and runs the grassroots organization.  At this time our organization is staffed entirely by volunteers.

    5. Community Work Day & Orchard Planting. In May of 2019, the Orchard Care Club came out to plant the first trees in the nut orchard.  We planted black walnut trees (Juglans nigra) and heartnut trees (Juglan ailantifolia) a Japanese species similar to butternut, but resistant to butternut canker.  Back in 2018 when we were leasing the land, orchard co-founder Camden Walters planted 30 apple and pear trees, including nine varieties of cider pears.

Community Work Day
Photograph by Tim Calabro of the Randolph Herald. Read the article about RCO by Cecile Smith published 5/16/2019.

6. Educational Events for Adult Community Members. We partnered with BALE’s Resilience University to host two educational workshops; a scything workshop with local resident Peter Leonard, and a Pruning, Grafting and Planting workshop with permaculture orchardist Nicko Rubin of East Hill Tree Farm.

Nicko teaching a workshop on pruning, grafting, and planting. Photo by Valerie Schoolcraft.


7. Whale Dance Installation. On 7/19/2019, Randolph Community Orchard became the host of a magnificent sculpture, Whale Dance by Jim Sardonis. This was installed with funding from the Vermont Community Foundation and the Preservation Trust of Vermont, the organization that organized the preservation of this land and holds the conservation easements. We are proud to work closely with organizations dedicated to the preservation of Vermont’s working landscape and historic down towns and are dedicated to making this land accessible and enjoyable to the public in perpetuity.

Photo by Dede Tracy


Volunteer Landscaping Crew, including artist Jim Sardonis.

Thanks for reading about the highlights of our first year.  We are excited to continue working hard and look forward to enjoying the fruits of our labors! If you’re interested in joining the Orchard Care Club, please fill out this form.

What’s coming up: We will be launching our first fundraising event this Wednesday at the Whale Dance Party.  We hope you can join us for the party! Here is a sneak peak at the images that will be displayed on the tee shirts, designed by volunteer members of the Orchard Care Club:

Design by Valerie Schoolcraft
Design by Camden Walters

Best wishes,

Jessica Taffet, RCO Director.




Model of “Whale Dance” by Jim Sardonis

The volunteers who make up Randolph Community Orchard Inc. are honored to steward a very special piece of land that is accessible to the public for enjoyment and recreation, free of charge. We are proud to work closely with organizations dedicated to the preservation of Vermont’s working landscape and historic down towns. With great excitement we share that later this week, the Preservation Trust of Vermont and the Vermont Community Foundation will be installing Whale Dance, a sculpture by Jim Sardonis on the land at Exit 4. To celebrate the installation of this beloved Randolph icon, the Preservation Trust will be hosting a party at Chandler Center for the Arts on Wednesday, July 24 from 5:00 – 7:00 pm. This party is free and open to the public and we hope you can join us!  For more info, see our event page.