Godena Farm is a 25-acre property located in the center of Jamestown Rhode Island. It is owned by the Conanicut Island Land Trust (CILT). A major initiative of CILT has been the establishment of pollinator and song bird habitat at Godena farm. Currently at the farm, we have acres of wildflowers, a pollinator garden, hundreds of native pollinator shrubs, trees, and an apple orchard.
In the fall of 2014, the CILT received a donation of a bee shed, hives, and bee equipment from Jamestown resident Lelia Palmeri. The bee equipment was used on Beavertail by her late husband Vivian Palmeri.
No one on the CILT board had any experience in bee keeping, so our secretary Jim Turenne turned to the Internet. Jim posted on the RI Beekeepers Association Facebook page, asking for help setting up the hives. Within a few hours, there were replies offering to help, companies offering to supply the bees, and volunteers offering to help establish the apiary. Three bee hives were setup in the early spring of 2015.
In early April 2015, packets of bees and their queens arrived from California and brought to their new home at Godena. The Land Trust was extremely fortunate to receive the assistance from Don and Lori Joslin of the RI Beekeepers Association. They traveled to Jamestown from Hopkington throughout the summer to inspect the hives and teach the CILT board members and volunteers about beekeeping.
In 2016 we added two new hives and an estimated 150,000 bees are currently feeding on the pollen from the wildflowers and native shrubs at Godena Farm and surrounding areas. For the 2018 season we now have 5 hives and have created a large pollinator garden at Godena Farm designed to provide pollen and nectar all season. This honey is 100% raw Godena Farm Wildflower Honey and it is delicious!
The Conanicut Island Land Trust is now working to involve local schools in learning about the importance of honeybees, pollination, and the interdependence among humans and the environment. We taught an after school enrichment program called “Bee Club” to students at the Melrose School and CILT offers Godena Farm for field trips as an outdoor learning center. Money raised from the sale of this honey will help to expand our educational initiative and cover the cost of the bees and pollinator habitat.