Sustainable Farming

Farming for the Future

Achieving a sustainable food system is critical to ensuring an abundant and healthy food supply for generations to come. While Maryland boasts a richness and diversity of sustainable farms, they make up a minority of agricultural operations in our state.

Maryland families want healthy, delicious, affordable local food, grown responsibly. Installing a fair system – one that rewards good stewardship and sustainable practices – is the best way to achieve this for Maryland’s future.

Sustainable Farming Defined Goat Eating Greens Shine and Rise Farm

  • Fair Farms considers sustainable farming to be the production of agricultural products in a way that:
    • preserves the environment on the farm and beyond;
    • enriches the lives of farmers, their communities, and the population as a whole; and
    • restores the health and welfare of farmed animals.

Sustainability in the Larger Food System

  • Sustainable agriculture doesn’t stop at the farm gate—it’s part of a larger sustainable food system. Sustainable food distribution systems rely on local or regional networks of sustainable farms.  Products are usually sold directly to consumers through farmers’ markets, consumer-supported agriculture, farm shares, and co-ops, or directly to restaurants, food services, and food hubs.
  • To successfully pursue sustainability, every farmer needs access to facilities and equipment to harvest, store, process, and sell their products in a fair and efficient way.

What do Sustainable Farmers Look Like?Workers at Shine and Rise Farm - May not be high enough quality

  • Visionary farmers who practice sustainable farming protect their waterways from runoff and erosion, care for their animals, raise food without harmful chemicals, and make the food available at local farmers’ markets.
  • They use techniques like regenerative farming, which produces healthy food while preserving or restoring the health of the soil. By using crop or livestock rotation, composting and other techniques, farmers can maintain a sustainable, pesticide-free environment on their farms.

Fair Farms celebrates farmers and businesses – small and large – that adopt visionary farm practices. Properly managing farmland means investing in practices and policies to preserve and restore farmland for the use, education, and enjoyment of future generations.

Latest Posts

Food, Farming, and the Green New Deal

Written by Joey Lee, Center for Food Safety The food and farming sector is the United States’ largest overall employer, and a top contributor to climate change. At the same time, those in the food and farming space have enormous potential to assuage the impacts of climate change and play a role in reversing it….

Healthy Soils Practices 101

Written by the Maryland Pesticide Education Network Farmers who use healthy soil practices can produce economically and environmentally sustainable healthy food, while sequestering carbon that will help address climate change. While there is no commonly accepted definition of “healthy soil,” there are scientifically sound practices that develop healthy soil. While there still is much to…

Maryland Farmers for a Green New Deal

Written by Alexis Baden-Mayer, Organic Consumers Association The Green New Deal is the first Congressional proposal to tackle climate change that includes strategies related to food and farming. The Green New Deal would “. . . secure for all people of the United States for generations to come: clean air and water; climate and community resiliency;…

Steps You Can Take for a More Sustainable Maryland

Written by Ashley Guenard From the beautiful rolling hills of Western Maryland to the Chesapeake Bay and the Coastal Bays of the Eastern Shore, here in the Old Line State we are lucky to have access to very diverse ecosystems. From our cities to farmlands to sandy beaches, we must all work together to preserve…

That’s a Wrap! Check out Our Successes this Legislative Session

The 2019 Maryland legislative session has come to a close. We are grateful and proud that so many of our bills were successful this year – from incentivizing the purchase of local foods, to ensuring that antibiotics are used responsibly in farming. e vow to keep fighting for those that were not.  Here’s our end-of-session…

A Food Future Laboratory on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

Fair Farms has a kindred spirit in the Eastern Shore Food Lab at Washington College, a distinguishing program with a research, teaching, and production space that brings together students, faculty, staff, and community members to use food to “reconnect with what it means to be human.” The Food Lab promotes ethical methods of food production…

What we’re up to this Maryland General Assembly!

Spring is almost here, and the Fair Farms team can’t wait! But right now, we are busy in Annapolis working to advance a number of initiatives — from incentivizing the purchase of local foods to promoting healthy soils practices — with the goal of building our new food system. Check out where the bills are…

Evaluating our Water Footprint and Ways to Reduce

Written by Lauren Smith St. Mary’s College of Maryland ’20 We often think of reducing our water usage by doing things like taking shorter showers or turning off the sink while we brush our teeth. This is one way we consume water, called direct water use. However, we often overlook the other type of water…


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