PASA Members Sara Runkel & Andrew Dohner Help Preserve Great Bend Organic Farm

May 10, 2013

Tami Shimp, VP Development & Communications
Berks Conservancy
25 North 11th Street, Reading 19601
tami.shimp@berks-conservancy.org
610-372-4992 ext. 110

For Immediate Release: Over 169-acres in West Brunswick Township (in Port Clinton) along the important Kittatinny Ridge in Schuylkill County are now permanently protected from development. The Great Bend Organic Farm contains sourcewater, wetlands, woodlands and over a mile of frontage on the Schuylkill River. This important property will remain as open space for future generations to enjoy. The proper management of this property makes significant contributions to water quality and quantity of the Schuylkill River – as more than 60% of the land is woodlands, wetlands, and Schuylkill River frontage. The farm contains great land and water habitat with local breeding species of animals and birds. With its close proximity to the Kittatinny Ridge and the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary it also serves as a habitat for migratory species of birds and aquatic life. In addition, it contributes to the preservation of the historic Schuylkill Canal Lock.

The operators of the farm, Sara Runkel and Andy Dohner have high standards for management of the farm and the wetlands. Their combined knowledge and experience enables them to specialize in sustainably grown vegetables, specialty cut flowers, and hay. Starting this year, Great Bend Organic Farm is now growing a wide variety of specialty cut flowers. They are committed to sustainable agriculture and are in the process of applying for organic certification. They supply these locally grown fresh flowers to florists, brides-to-be, and they run a Flower CSA along with a very popular Winter CSA. We encourage you to visit the farm and learn more about their sustainable practices! You can contact Sara and Andy at farmers@greatbendfarm.com or by phone at 610-780-2579.

The owners of the farm, John Spang and his wife, Tanya Russ, worked with the staff of the Berks Conservancy to develop conservation easement language that will permanently restrict the property from development. The conservation easement also ensures that the property will be managed organically.

This project was completed in partnership with the Schuylkill County Conservancy, the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, and of course, the landowners and farm operators. “The Berks Conservancy values partnerships like this one to protect important places in and around our local region. We hope this is the first of many organic farms that we see protected in this area of Pennsylvania!” said Kim Murphy, Berks Conservancy President.

On May 27th the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is sponsoring a Paddle for Preservation canoe trip along the Schuylkill River to directly raise funds for projects like this one. For more information visit the events page at www.hawkmountain.org.

Visit the Berks Conservancy’s website at www.berks-conservancy.org to learn about other conservation projects involving your community. We’re Saving a Place for You…

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