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Young Professionals Bloom Magazine April/May 2017





















Michelle Lennis, a co-organizer of the Hoosiers for CBD Rally, speaks on Thursday at the Indiana Statehouse about the need for awareness about CBD oil. CBD oil and industrial hemp are the focus of three ongoing bills in the Indiana House of Representatives and Senate. EMILY ECKELBARGER

Supporters of cannabidiol oil legalization gathered at the Statehouse on Thursday with a goal of educating themselves and the public on the uses and benefits of CBD oil.

Users and supporters of legalizing CBD oil and industrial hemp, two products derived from the cannabis plant that are sometimes used to treat epilepsy or other seizure disorders, gave testimonials as well as showed their support for three current CBD-related bills.

Jesse Bunnell from B-Town Botanicals talked about how his Bloomington store recently started selling CBD-related products. He said he had seen many people use it and have positive results.

“It doesn’t work for everyone, but the people who do use it should have access to it,” Bunnell said.

Ashlie Kehrberg spoke on how CBD oil changed her life. 

Kehrberg said she suffered from a spinal injury that caused her legs and arms to go numb. Doctors put her on numerous prescriptions, but she started suffering severe side effects, such as insomnia and eye problems.

She decided to try CBD oil. She found that she could sleep through the night and did not feel nerve pain in her arms anymore. Kehrberg urged citizens to get educated about what the product is and isn’t.

“We started educating ourselves just like every other person in Indiana needs to do,” she said.

The Indiana House of Representatives passed two bills this week involving CBD and industrial hemp. CBD oil and industrial hemp are both products of a cannabis plant and can be used for similar purposes but are made from different parts of the plant.

House Bill 1137 passed unanimously through the House on Wednesday. The bill would establish a pilot program allowing for the cultivation of industrial hemp and industrial hemp products. Industrial hemp is a type of cannabis plant with low THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

The bill would allow farmers to grow the plant, which can’t get users high. Hemp can be used for a variety of purposes, including food or fuel. It also has numerous health benefits and can work to treat epilepsy and other seizure disorders. 

“What it is not is marijuana,” said Michelle Lennis, co-organizer for the event.

Lennis got emotional while speaking, saying how important this product is for so many people in Indiana.

“It’s really disturbing to see folks of stature trying to take that away,” she said.

The House also passed another bill Tuesday regarding CBD oil and industrial hemp. House Bill 1214 legalizes CBD oil and repeals a previous law that required a CBD registry.

Both House bills now move into the Senate for the second half of the session.

Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, and Sen. James Tomes, R-Wadesville, made surprise speeches at the rally. Both have worked for and authored bills this year regarding CBD oil and industrial hemp.

Tomes said he believes more people are supporting these bills now more than ever.

Lucas said although the bills have passed, there are still a lot of people who don’t understand what hemp and CBD oil are. He urged attendees to contact their legislators to get involved.

“This issue is too important to let sit on this golden opportunity,” Lucas said.

The current CBD oil and hemp legislation comes after confusion arose last session surrounding CBD oil and its uses. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill into law last session allowing people diagnosed with certain medical conditions, including epilepsy, to use CBD oil. 

The law, however, caused confusion over whether the product could be sold in stores. Attorney General Curtis Hill Jr. announced in a Nov. 21 advisory opinion the product was illegal in almost all circumstances.

A week later, Holcomb gave Indiana State Excise Police 60 days “to educate, inform and issue warnings to retailers” and give them enough time to remove products containing CBD oil.

Holcomb announced Friday he would be extending the education period for CBD oil. He said in a Jan. 26 statement from his office this education period would allow legislators to have more time to clarify the current Indiana law. 

He added he would delay the process of issuing citations or removing CBD products from retailers until after the current session ends.

“Lawmakers have indicated they would like more time to consider proposed legislation,” his statement read.

Lelah Jerger, a co-organizer of the event, stressed the importance of contacting legislators, even if someone is only interested in the agricultural benefits of producing the product.

“Let’s stress what it’s going to do for Indiana’s economy, and then, let’s stress what it’s going to do for Hoosiers,” she said.


New indoor gardening store opens


Published Jan 26, 2017 2:31 pm











B-Town Botanicals, a new indoor garden supply and hydroponics store in Bloomington, displays a deep water culture bucket in a grow tent.  B-Town Botanicals offers grow room specialists, who will design and install equipment for customers.



The smell of dirt fills B-Town Botanicals, and the faint hum of a water pump radiates from the corner of the room. It only makes sense. It’s an indoor garden and hydroponics supply store.

The store opened in early January in a shopping strip on Winslow Road. B-Town Botanicals sells nutrients, seeds, lighting, grow systems and more. 

The store’s owner, Jesse Bunnell, said he always wanted to start the business. As soon as he found out Worm’s Way was closing, he said he began the process of opening B-Town Botanicals. He began a GoFundMe in support of his business and received more than $47,000. 

“It felt like my dream was actually going to happen,” Bunnell, 33, said. “I really felt like they believed in me.” 

Through B-Town Botanicals customers can pay for a specialist to design and install equipment for indoor growing systems. The service sets up the grow for the customer, and specialists can even do construction and tear down walls to get the indoor growing room set up. 

“I think it’s nice for people if they want to be able to grow their own food," Andrew Bowlds, a senior at IU, said. 

Bunnell said he is confident he has the best prices in the area. In case he doesn't, customers can bring in evidence of the product costing less at another store, and the store policy is to take 10 percent off the competitor's price, according to the B-Town Botanicals website. The discount is only available on an in-store purchase. 

Chase Lawyer, 24, is the only other employee so far. He found out about B-Town Botanicals through an ad on Facebook and emailed Bunnell about it. He helps customers, does inventory, helped with the setup of the store and helps pick out merchandise for Bunnell to order for the store. 

“I’m always learning something new, especially from the customers that come into the store,” said Lawyer, who has a degree in environmental horticulture. “It’s a two-way street when it comes to that because I’m teaching them new things, and they’re teaching me new things.” 

Lawyer said he feels like he is continuing his education through B-Town Botanicals and having a resource like B-Town Botanicals is valuable to the community. 

The store’s grand opening party is March 25, and Bunnell says people can expect industry leaders, food vendors, product samples, raffle prizes of products from the store and entertainment. 


Natural Expressions

Nature-inspired gifts and decor

By Bob Baird

Herald-Times Homes Dec 16, 2017

Kindergartener Zoe Hill stuffs seed packets into stockings at her grandmother’s Bloomington Hardware store, where Lake Valley Organic seeds are now 40 percent off. Kids’ gloves run $3.99-$5.99, and Dora the Explorer garden accessories are $6.99-$9.99. 

Small World Pruning offers 10 percent off holiday gift certificates. Photo by Heather Jones

Cacti and succulents line shelves at Lowe’s, including graveled dish-gardens, top, in ceramic pots teeming with hens and chicks, aeoniums and kalanchoes, running $18.98. Photo by Bob Baird

Harvest Moon’s “festive” wreath uses dried statice, marigolds, billy buttons, Mexican sage, red flax and winterberries atop cedar and Scotch pine boughs, $68. “Rustic and wild” wreaths, behind, use eucalyptus, millet, sumac, boxwood and other materials, $88. Photo by Bob Baird

Eco-friendly bee houses, left, made of certified sustainable wood, $18.95, and more traditional sustainable bamboo models, $19.95, offer shelter to solitary pollinating bees, available at Deep Roots Garden Center. Photo by Bob Baird


Ellettsville True Value owner Bert Engler totes an over-the-shoulder plastic fruit-harvest bucket with strap, priced at $25.86. Photo by Bob Baird


“Green goods,” such as this decorated wreath, are among fund-raisers offered this morning for Girls, Inc. of Monroe County at its Holiday Hoopla at Fountain Square Mall. Scotch pine and Fraser fir wreaths, 24” and up, run $17.99 and up. Photo by Erin Woehlke


















Backgrounded by tropical plants and tender perennials grown in-shop, a Sun System compact grow-light kit at B-town Botanicals includes a 15x9 1/2x3 3/4” fixture, a 150-watt bulb and 7-foot 120-volt cord, $75. Suitable for a few small plants. Photo by Bob Baird


Wreaths, swags and poinsettias, oh my, but also grow lights, bee houses, tools, seed kits — everything for the gardener or nature-lover.

This week before Christmas, area Santas in the green industry teem with gift ideas and décor for well-wishers. Most establishments will be open through next Saturday, and home-improvement stores keep their doors ajar Christmas Eve just before Santa rounds up his reindeer.

Natural gifts and décor tend to have seasonality. Landscaping plants have long since sold out or been stockpiled for next season. When vendors run out of Christmas trees or wreaths, they must close shop, even if other items remain on shelves.

Bloomington Valley Nursery, preparing for winter remodeling has closed for the season. As ground temperatures freeze, area landscapers go into hibernation and/or clearing snow, yet offer gift certificates for future make-overs. Through December, Small World Pruning offers 10 percent discount on gift certificates for new-year pruning and planting. Two new hydroponics stores, following closure last fall of Worm’s Way’s, offer full lines of indoor-gardening wares, and in some cases, live plants. It’s not too late to find clever gifts for green thumbs on one’s list.

Abell Nursery & Landscape is doing its part, supporting this morning’s Holiday Hoopla at Fountain Square Mall downtown, sponsored by Girls, Inc. of Monroe County. As fans of Girls, Inc., the west-side nursery and landscaping center is offering poinsettias and some of the 580 wreaths assembled in recent weeks as fund-raisers for community groups. Today’s $5-ticketed event kicks off at 9 a.m., with a pancake breakfast, followed by a kids’ boutique, craft-making and gingerbread-house decorating, lasting until 11:30 a.m. The nursery, off Bloomfield Road, offers a full line of garden supplies.

Deep Roots Garden Center, a native-plants nursery based at Bloomingfoods East, is spotlighting bee houses, made from sustainable wood and hewn bamboo stalks, providing ideal habitat for female bees to lay eggs, leave nectar and pollen for hatchlings, then seal everything off from intruders. Non-stinging solitary pollinating bees are workhorses in assuring bio-diverse ecosystems, says owner Ramsay Harik, and bee houses help illumine pollinators’ roles. Also on sale are tools and wares for adults and children, seed kits, birdhouses and decorative “critter stones” made from Ohio granite.

Long-time supporter of local gardening efforts, Vickie Temple Davison, owner of Bloomington True Value Hardware, has spread her love and joy of gardening to her seven grandchildren, who reward her with discoveries about the environment, science, even math. She often fills their Christmas stockings with seed packs and kid-friendly tools and garden gloves. East-side gardeners and contractors frequent her convenient location off College Mall Road for a full line of gardening supplies.

Lowe’s local outlet continues to be a reliable source of well-maintained indoor and outdoor plants during the growing season, and garden supplies year-round. During the holidays a featured item is decorative quart-size ceramic cactus-and-succulent dish gardens, popular with students and others who appreciate their color, form and low maintenance, says service manager Jean-Paul Lamphere.

Goldleaf Hydroponics, operating off I-69 south of Monroe Hospital, offers tropical plants and succulents for sale, as well as indoor-gardening supplies. Owner Kyle Billman, who propagates the plants, learned of Mexican tree spinach, or chaya, from his Mexican wife Monica. During the holidays the store showcases starts of the plant, which grows 6-to-8 feet tall, whose leaves are slow-cooked like collard greens for nutritional value.

At B-town Botanicals, off Winslow Road, small lemon, tangerine and key-lime trees, plus zinnias, California poppies, strawberries and rosemary thrive beneath grow lights in trays and grow-panels. For the holidays, owner Jesse Bunnell, in addition to other hydroponics supplies, offers an intermediary-level 150-watt high-pressure sodium Sun System© grow-light kit with bulb and hanging hooks.

Ellettsville True Value Hardware owner Bert Engler has been impressed with a line of Taiwanese-made garden tools and accessories, particularly over-the-shoulder plastic harvest buckets. Great for berry picking, or as Engler notes, cleaning out gutters, the 5-gallon kidney-shaped buckets, with detachable strap, contour to the body. The store, popular in Ellettsville, carries a full line of garden supplies.

A short drive from Ellettsville, “Bloomington’s flower lady” Linda Chapman busies herself in her barn-workshop at Harvest Moon Flower Farm in Owen County, along with “elves” Carmen Sheppard and Hannah Linn, crafting signature handmade floral arrangements and holiday wreaths and swags. A familiar face at Bloomington and Indianapolis farmers’ markets, Chapman can be reached at the winter market at Harmony School, or at

Another enthusiastic female entrepreneur in the green industry, Heather Jones, describes her Small World Pruning gift certificates as “No waste . . . no batteries … no headaches. Results to last a lifetime.”

Knowing something about entrepreneurship, landscape designer and freelance writer Bob Baird can be reached at


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