Welcome to the Runamuk Conservation Farm!

bumble bee on yellow flowerThe Farm & Apiary

Runamuk Acres is a certified bee-friendly farm and apiary located in central Maine. We produce raw honey, beeswax products and northern-raised honeybee stock, along with fresh eggs and vegetables. Our website offers online resources for sustainable living and bee-friendly beekeeping, gardening, landscaping and farming. Check out the Runamuk Acres Farm Store to view our available products and great shipping rates!

Our mission is to protect wildlife through the conservation of pollinators and their habitats, to provide an ecological and financial benefit to the entire ecosystem and the people that depend on it. Furthermore, Runamuk is dedicated to sharing the knowledge and teaching the skills we have learned─so that others might follow our example and lead more bee-friendly lifestyles too. Therefore, agritourism through this education also plays a part in the Runamuk business.

samantha with beehives in backgroundA love for nature and a passion for bees and pollinators drove Sam(antha) to environmental activism through sustainable farming and beekeeping. Runamuk was established in 2010 and for 6 years Sam(antha) served as president of the Somerset Beekeepers, a county-level chapter of the Maine State Beekeepers’ Association. Sam(antha) teaches beekeeping courses to beginning beekeepers, and performs community outreach in the central Maine region to educate the public about the threats facing pollinators. In 2012 Sam(antha) established the Madison Farmers’ Market in her home-town community, and continues to serve as Director of the market to this day.

In spite of the challenges so commonly faced by beginning farmers, Sam(antha) has grown her operation, increasing her income through farming, and is now ready to buy a piece of property that will allow Runamuk to grow into the pollinator sanctuary and sustainable living center that she has long envisioned. Currently Sam(antha) is working with the USDA’s Farm Service Agency to finance the purchase of the Swinging Bridge Farm in New Portland, Maine.

Vision for the Runamuk Conservation Farm:
Pollinator Sanctuary & Sustainable Living Center

swinging bridge farm old white farmhouse

The Swinging Bridge Farm!

Located in the foothills of the western Maine mountains, the farm’s remote location will be ideal for raising superior honeybee stock that is exceptionally well adapted to Maine’s northern climate. This 150-acre farm sits high on a hillside, surrounded by Maine wilderness, with gnarly old apple trees, rock walls and a 137-year old classic Cape-style farmhouse whispering of the property’s agricultural past. Not far from Route 16, a major corridor for tourists traveling to and from the Sugarloaf Ski Resort and Canada, and just 2 miles from the historic Wire Bridge of West New Portland, for which the Swinging Bridge Farm was named, makes this an ideal location.

Through the use of livestock to manage the land to create a savanna-like setting and utilizing permaculture values, an extensive series of sustenance gardens can be established─nut trees, fruit trees and shrubs, and other perennial food plants that include, but are not limited to, asparagus, artichokes and rhubarb. Perennial herbs with medicinal properties can be cultivated and used in the apiary’s production of herbal salves reducing inputs and increasing sustainability of the operation. Such a setting provides prime forage for bees and other pollinators.

bumble bee and bergamont flowerBroad 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 bee-friendly seedlings for resale, seed propagation, and cut flower sales while remaining a beautiful attraction to guests and wildlife alike.

Well-defined walking paths will 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 bee-friendly beekeeping, gardening, landscaping, and farming.

The Runamuk FarmRaiser

Lack of capital and land access are the two largest obstacles facing new farmers today and they have certainly played a role in Runamuk’s journey. Investment in a farm property would enable Runamuk to establish a permanent location, allowing for expansion into agritourism as a conservation and demonstration farm. With that in mind, we’ve launched a crowdfunded campaign to raise the money we need for investment in our forever farm home.

If you like what we’re about and want to support our cause in a monetary fashion, you can Donate to our FarmRaiser Fund (supported by PayPal) with the button below.

Just by sharing our story with others you can help us to spread the word of our mission to create a pollinator conservation farm in Maine. Be sure to subscribe to the Runamuk blog so that you never miss an update!