Roberts Farm Preserve
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Name:           Roberts Farm Preserve

Address:        64 Roberts Road

                      Norway, Maine   04268

Phone:           207-739-2124

Property Manager:

                      Western Foothills Land Trust

                      P.O. Box 107

                      Norway, Maine  04268

Western Foothill Lands Trust Website:


Western Foothills Land Trust Email:


SAD 17 School Farm Program:

Patrick Carson - Health Coordinator

Alissa Leonard

Daniel Rennie - Site Coordinator

Facebook:    Roberts Farm Facebook Page

Products and Services:


-groomed trails for cross country skiing


-Libby Trail for physically challenged

-equestrian trails


-bird watching


-experiential education programs

-warming hut

-extensive vegetable gardens

-raised beds, greenhouses

-collaboration with local schools

-CSA program

What Makes Roberts Farm Preserve Unique?

In a discussion of some of the beautiful old historic farms located in Maine, the Roberts Farm Preserve in Norway should be way up there on the list of hidden gems.  Besides a fascinating history that dates back to the 1700’s, the farm has been saved from development and opened up as a multi-faceted recreational, agricultural, and educational property.

The Western Foothills Land Trust had the foresight to make sure that the Roberts Farm property was protected from development.  Their mission has been to work towards the conservation and protection of native ecosystems, farms, forests, watersheds, and scenic properties for both wildlife and individuals to enjoy.  In addition to Roberts Farm Preserve, Western Foothills Land Trust maintains recreational trails on Shepard’s Farm and Witt Swamp Preserves in Norway, and the Packard Trail at the Virgil Parris Forest in Buckfield.

The first owner of the 165-acre Roberts Farm property was Dudley Pike.  He purchased the land in 1787.  The land was transferred to his son, Henry Pike, in 1818.  Henry’s daughter, Carrie Pike, married John Roberts and John managed the property and developed it into a highly successful dairy farm that turned out many products including one hundred pounds of butter each week.

Thaddeus Roberts, the son of Henry and Carrie, farmed the land until 1968.  John A. Roberts Jr. sold the original farmhouse in the 1970’s, but held onto the land.  The land was eventually purchased by the Growth Council of the Oxford Hills with a plan to develop a technological park.  When those plans fell through, the Western Foothills Land Trust stepped forward to purchase the land in 2007, and conserve it for the future.  They were able to purchase the original homestead in 2009.

The diversity of programs and recreational opportunities that have come to fruition at the Roberts Farm Preserve since its purchase six years ago is truly amazing.   Several trails have been established through the woods and fields.  These trails are enjoyed by hikers, cross country skiers, snowshoers, cyclists, and equestrians.  A warming hut was built. 

The Libby Trail is a 1.1 kilometer universally- accessible trail that goes to a scenic outlook. There is a 3.5 kilometer hiking and dog walking snowshoe trail.  Biatholons and triatholons have been held at the farm. There have been snowshoe walks, full moon ski gatherings, 5k and 10k skate skis, family snowshoe games, skate ski clinics, skijoring, and snowshoe races and games.  Several students are enjoying an after-school Nordic ski program at the Preserve this winter.

A very special relationship has been developed between the Western Foothills Land Trust and the Oxford Hills School District.  The district is able to lease the land from the Western Foothills Land Trust for one dollar a year.  Because students from the different schools have opportunities to visit the farm,  a great deal of experiential learning is taking place. 

Students from the Oxford Hills Middle School have had the opportunity to build leadership and natural science skills in the outdoors.  They have helped to construct and plant raised beds and tend gardens.  During the summer,  students from Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School were employed at Roberts Farm Preserve to help in the gardens.  They also assisted with the Leadership in Transition program which focused on helping elementary school students with their transition to middle school.

An intensive agricultural program has been established by the school district at the farm.  Dan Rennie, a former Food Corps service member and present Site Coordinator of SAD 17’s outdoor classroom at Roberts Farm Preserve, has done a remarkable job developing the property into a model working farm.  He has greatly appreciated the assistance of school staff and students and community members in planning and managing the fields, raised beds, and four greenhouses.  A composting program has been set in place that includes composting school waste and vermicomposting.

A large variety of greens and vegetables are grown in the outdoor classroom program.  Some of the produce from the farm was purchased by the school district’s food service program to be utilized in the school cafeteria.  The farm also offered CSA shares to members of the community this past summer to generate some income to pay the hourly wages of the high school students who were employed at the farm during the summer.  There are plans to build a working maple syrup house in their grove of maple trees.

Daniel Rennie, the Site Coordinator of the Outdoor Classroom at Roberts Farm Preserve,  was invited to be on a panel at the Maine Farm to School Conference in Portland on September 30, 2013.  He spoke about the use of hoop houses and greenhouses to extend the growing season in a school setting.

There is an interest in donating a large amount of the food grown in the school gardens to local food banks.  Several thousands of pounds of vegetables raised at Roberts Farm Preserve have already been donated to the Maine Harvest for Hunger program.

When Unique Maine Farms visited the Roberts Farm Preserve this past September, the middle school students were being introduced to the many components of the outdoor classroom program.  The students were divided into groups.  Some headed off to the trails for a hike.  Others observed the gardens and the greenhouses.  There were tours of where the bees and chickens were raised.  Classes were being held in the two classrooms.

A great deal of energy, collaboration, and community spirit seems to be part of the Roberts Farm Preserve.  It is mind-boggling to think that so much is offered at this farm for students, staff, and community members.  How fortunate that the Western Foothills Land Trust was established to protect land like Roberts Farm for open space and resource protection. If you have not learned about their work with conservation easements, stewardship options, and their other preserves, it is certainly something most worthwhile to check out. Information about all of their projects can be found on the Western Foothills Land Trust’s website.