Runamuk is a certified bee-friendly farm and apiary located in Maine, owned and operated through a partnership between Sam(antha) Burns and Paul Smith. Currently Runamuk produces raw honey and handcrafted beeswax products, as well as fresh-eggs and vegetables that sold locally at the Madison Farmers’ Market.
At the heart of Runamuk is a love for nature and a desire to preserve the landscape for future generations. That’s why Runamuk’s mission is to practice “Bee-friendly farming for a more sustainable tomorrow”. Through the practice of regenerative agriculture and by focusing on the conservation of pollinators as a keystone species, we are able to provide a benefit to the farm’s entire ecosystem.
Furthermore, Runamuk is dedicated to sharing the knowledge and teaching the skills we’ve learned─so that others might follow our lead. That’s why we’re working to establish Runamuk as a conservation and demonstration farm, where people can gain new inspirations, learn the skills and take our lessons home to implement these techniques in their lives.
The Vision for the Runamuk Conservation Farm
The Runamuk Conservation Farm will be settled in the heart of the western Maine mountains, where the farm’s remote location will be ideal for raising superior honeybee stock that is exceptionally well adapted to Maine’s northern climate. On a quiet dirt road, high on a hillside with views of the mountainous horizon, this hundred-acre farm will lay deep in the Maine wilderness, and the apiary will sit at the heart of the scene with a veritable cloud of golden buzzing bees zooming to and from the hives.
Utilizing regenerative agricultural practices, an extensive series of sustenance gardens can be established: nut trees, fruit trees and shrubs, and other perennial food plants. Perennial herbs with medicinal properties can be cultivated and used in the apiary’s production of herbal salves, reducing inputs and increasing the sustainability of our operation.
Broad demonstration gardens of native perennials for pollinators like bees and butterflies, birds and other wildlife will be spread out across the farmscape. Pastures and wildflower meadows can be created to provide high quality forage for bees, producing the most remarkable honey. These perennial gardens serve double duty, allowing for cultivation of seedlings for resale, seed propagation, and cut flower sales while remaining a beautiful attraction to guests and wildlife alike.
Well-defined walking paths lead the way through the gardens, pastures and forests, with informational plaques at each garden identifying the plants grown there and the pollinator or animal that habitat supports. Nesting boxes for various bird species, bats, bees and butterflies will be scattered about the conservation farm attracting wildlife and educating the public─with a grand “bee hotel” providing habitat for a spectrum of native bees. Visitors will be able to find benches about the farm and gardens for sitting and absorbing nature, a picnic area for school field trips or family day-trips, and a fire pit for community gatherings and celebrations. The Runamuk Conservation Farm will be a welcoming stop for tourists passing through the area, and a destination for anyone looking to learn about beekeeping, pollinator conservation, bee-friendly farming, regenerative agriculture or sustainable living.
Searching for our forever-farm home
Runamuk’s is growing─every year for the last 3 Runamuk’s income has more than doubled and that trend is projected to continue. As Runamuk grows, so too does our need for a permanent location to expand our farm. We’re searching for our forever-farm home in order to put down roots, plant the perennial crops that will form the foundation of our conservation farm, and finally begin the good work Runamuk is destined to perform.
Our resources are limited; like so many other beginning farmers, lack of capital has posed an obstacle in building up the Runamuk business. Traditional financing with a bank is not an option for us, so we’re seeking an owner-financed opportunity with a land-owner committed to preserving his land for future generations. With that kind of partnership we could bring the Runamuk Conservation Farm to life and save the world by saving bees.
Currently we’re saving for a down payment; Sam(antha) continues to work part-time off the farm at Johnny’s Selected Seeds to be able to squirrel funds away, and we’re living in less-than-ideal conditions to keep our overhead as low as possible. Runamuk is growing and the day will come when we finally have our forever-farm home so that we can finally get to work putting down roots and building the Runamuk Conservation Farm to teach the world how to bee-friendly.
If you like what we’re about and want to support our cause in a monetary fashion, you can Donate to our Down Payment Fund (supported by PayPal) with the button below.
You can also help make this happen just by sharing our story with others to spread the word of our search for a forever-farm home for Runamuk. And be sure to subscribe to the Runamuk blog so that you never miss an update!