Public Health

Fair Farms for Healthy Families

Farmers and farm workers live close to the land. Spending their days growing food for families, we owe it to them to ensure their families—and all Marylanders—enjoy safe and healthy living conditions. Public health is important to us all.

Our current agriculture and food system often prioritizes profits over public health. Some industrial farms—especially those involved in intensive animal agriculture—use unhealthy farming practices that jeopardize our environment and, in turn, endanger public health.

Manure PageExcess pesticides and manure from these farms seep into our waterways – the same waterways Marylanders use for swimming, fishing, crabbing, and drinking water. When excess manure from factory farms ends up in our water sources, Marylanders can be exposed to harmful disease-carrying pathogens and bacteria that pose many health risks. Exposure to herbicides like Atrazine, which is used to treat corn, is linked to cancer, thyroid disease, and other systemic problems. In fact, the World Health Organization regards several pesticides and herbicides routinely used in agriculture, such as Roundup, as likely carcinogens.

The routine use of antibiotics in farm animals that are not sick is also contributing to the rise of antibiotic resistance. It is estimated that 23,000 people die every year— and two million people are sickened—by antibiotic resistant superbugs.  Farm workers are at a particularly high risk due to their constant exposure.

Cows CAFOBig factory farms can be unhealthy neighbors, creating foul smells, contributing to air and water pollution, and exposing people to animal-borne diseases. Just as Maryland farmers need reasonable protection from encroaching developments, we also need updated zoning codes that protect Maryland homeowners and residents from noxious fumes and other threats from encroaching, super-sized factory farms with intensive animal agriculture.

Fair Farms believes in a more diverse, healthy, local, and sustainable system. A system where farmers live in harmony with the land and the community and chemical outputs are minimized, and these sustainable farms are supported by consumers. Farming should conjure visions of pastoral landscapes and hardworking men and women cultivating the land – not practices that threaten public health and pollute the environment.

Fair farms mean healthy families.

Projects & Campaigns


Latest Posts

  • Browsing Green Goats: “Spraying isn’t Cool”Browsing Green Goats: "Spraying isn't Cool"
    Guest blog post by Mary T. Bowen of Browsing Green Goats and Prosperity Acres Farm in Sunderland, Md. You can rent goats from Mary to tackle overgrown weeds and brush as an alternative to herbicides. We’ve all done it: We’ve sprayed herbicides to get rid of the weeds at some point. Herbicides are designed to be toxic to ...
  • Organic and Pesticide-Free Pick-Your-Own Farms in MarylandOrganic and Pesticide-Free Pick-Your-Own Farms in Maryland
    Warmer days provide a lot to be excited about, but the start of Pick-Your-Own season is something that we at Fair Farms look forward to all year long. Whether you like blueberries and strawberries, prefer to hold out until apple and pumpkin season, or like all of the above, the last thing you should have ...
  • Press Release: Senator Van Hollen Introduces Bill to Improve Assistance for Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and RanchersPress Release: Senator Van Hollen Introduces Bill to Improve Assistance for Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers
    Advocates praise changes to improve efficiency, transparency and accountability for underserved farmers and ranchers For Immediate Release May 15, 2018 (Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) introduced a bill that would improve assistance to underserved populations in the farming community. The “Assist Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Act of ...
  • Mother, Farmer, and Breast Cancer Survivor Calls on Weis Markets to Fight Antibiotic ResistanceMother, Farmer, and Breast Cancer Survivor Calls on Weis Markets to Fight Antibiotic Resistance
    By Kim Wagner, Black Bottom Farm Collective Ask Weis Markets to Fight Superbugs: As a mother, farmer, and breast cancer survivor, I always strive to source the cleanest food possible. This means buying products from animals raised ethically and sustainably. One of the most important things for me is knowing that when I purchase food for my family, ...
  • Job Opening: Fair Farms Public Health Intern – Summer 2018Job Opening: Fair Farms Public Health Intern - Summer 2018
    Update: This position has been filled Fair Farms is building a movement of Marylanders of all stripes, working together for a new food system — one that is fair to farmers, invests in homegrown healthy foods, and restores our waterways. We bring together consumers, farmers, green businesses, public health professionals, and conservationists to advocate for regenerative farming ...


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