By employing methods of regenerative agriculture and bee-friendly farming, Runamuk is able to promote the well-being of pollinators, soil microbial life, and other beneficial insects on our farm. Conservation of these keystone species allows for the development of a more sustainable agricultural ecosystem that coexists in harmony with its larger ecosystem and ecoregion.
What is Conservation Agriculture?
Conservation Agriculture (CA) is a sustainable approach to agricultural production which aims to prevent losses of arable land while regenerating degraded lands. Methods of conservation agriculture protect soil from erosion and degradation, improve its quality and biodiversity, contributing to the preservation of natural resources, water and air, while optimizing yields.
Also known as: regenerative farming, no-till or reduced tillage agriculture, direct seeding, and organic farming.
Methods of Conservation Ag include:
- Minimizing soil disturbance
- Cover cropping
- Increased plant diversity
- Integrated livestock systems
- Rotational grazing
- Crop rotations
- Integrated pest management
Our Commitment to Nature
It is a deep love and affinity for nature that drives Runamuk’s farm-steward, Samantha Burns, to commit to conservation agriculture, as well as a sense of moral duty. Burns believes mankind must learn to coexist with nature─that we must learn to live sustainably upon the planet─to ensure the futures of generations to come. Determined to make a difference, Burns leads by example, employing methods of conservation agriculture in her farm operations.
A love affair with beekeeping led Burns to the realization that it is the smallest lifeforms on the planet which have the biggest effect on Earth’s ecosystems. Burns came to the conclusion that by promoting the well-being of these keystone species, she could provide a benefit to the entire farm habitat, which improves the local ecosystem, and the broader regional ecosystems in turn. Thus, efforts at the Runamuk Acres Conservation Farm are geared toward beneficial insects and soil microbial life.
In 2020, Burns entered 41.47 of Runamuk’s 53 acres into a 50-year conservation contract with the USDA/NRCS. Habitats on the property were inspected by state biologists, and two sites were deemed worth protecting. A tiny, unnamed stream running through a corner of the property empties into Gilman Pond, which flows into Gilman Stream. Gilman Stream is home to a thriving colony of Brook Floater mussels. The Brook Floater is a species of freshwater mussel listed as a threatened species in Maine, and listed as endangered or threatened in nearly every state in which it is found.
The other site is a grove of young Tamarack, also known as Hackmatach or Northern Larch, which provides habitat for turtle nesting, ideal overwintering habitat for myriad native insects, including solitary bees and wasps, and perfect habitat for the common nighthawk, whose populations have been in decline for 20 years now.
To help others develop a love for nature, and to educate the public about how they, too, can make an impact on the world where they live, Burns encourages public use of the conservation lands for recreational purposes. Miles of ATV and walking paths run through the conservation lands, open to hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, biking, or accessing the ITS trails beyond. Visitors can enjoy birdwatching, view wildlife, and connect with nature in this private wildlife preserve. With a remote campsite available, a guest room for farmstays, and an on-site farmstand, the Runamuk Acres Conservation Farm welcomes visitors year-round.
Stop by the farmstand today to see what in season! Contact Runamuk Acres to book a farmstay or reserve our campsite! Follow @runamukacres on social media, or subscribe to our farm-blog to support our efforts in conservation agriculture!