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

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

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 consumption that…
Carole Morison with Hens

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food

This is a guest post by Carole Morison who was featured in the documentary “Food, Inc.” and was a recipient of the Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leaders Award. This piece was originally posted on Carole’s blog. It’s seems like we are hearing more and more about some type of recall on the food that we eat. Multi-state…

More Farmers Moving Away from Plasticulture

By Jane Bloodworth Rowe We’ve all heard about how plastic is filling our landfills and contaminating our oceans. Plastic is not biodegradable, and it can break down into microplastics that wash into the oceans, pollute the water, and threaten marine life. However, many people may not be aware that agriculture is heavily dependent on plastic…

Video: A Farm-to-Table Adventure

Fair Farms visited Calvert’s Gift Farm, Chesapeake Farm to Table, and our friend Chef Steven to learn more about the importance of farm-to-table operations. Video work by Gabriel Bustos.
Boy at Farmers Market

Buy Local Challenge: Do you know where your fruit’s been?

Blog post by Betsy Nicholas, Fair Farms founder A plump, juicy peach; an ear of crisp sweet corn; a ruby red tomato just picked from the vine — summer produce abounds on Maryland dining room tables this time of year. Fresh fruits and vegetables are important parts of our diets and an important part of…
Little Portion Farm

Big Plans for Little Portion Farm

Tucked away in Ellicott City, the Shrine of St. Anthony sits on more than 80 acres belonging to the Franciscan Friars. The commitment to sustainability is evident shortly after you drive onto the grounds and spot the many solar arrays. Along with the solar project, you will find rain gardens that help mitigate runoff into…


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