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.
- 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.
- 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.
- UMD Dining: As Fresh as it GetsWritten by Lynne Zhang, Fair Farms Intern For the students at the University of Maryland-College Park, finding farm-fresh food can be as easy as walking to one of the three diners on campus, thanks to Terp Farm. Terp Farm is located 15 miles from the university on two acres at the Upper Marlboro Research and ...
- Fair Farms Interview Series: Maryland Delegate Dana SteinWritten by Susan Webb Delegate Dana Stein is a strong advocate for the environment. As Chair of the Natural Resources, Agriculture and Open Space subcommittee, Del. Stein oversees legislation affecting Chesapeake Bay fisheries, farming, hunting regulations, and land preservation. He has also served as Vice Chair of the Environment and Transportation Committee since 2015, influencing the ...
- Take Action: Get locally-grown food into Maryland institutions!With your help, last year Maryland created the Maryland Food for Maryland Institutions Study Group whose goal has been to increase the amount of locally grown food procured by Maryland institutions, providing more market opportunities for our local farming community. Out of that diverse network of stakeholders, came the idea to establish the two important ...
- VA Farmers’ Markets Should be ‘Essential’ during COVID-19 CrisisFarmers’ markets are a critical component of Virginia’s food system and economy as they provide affordable, fresh, and nutritious food directly to consumers, and keep much needed capital within their local communities. Moreover, farmers’ markets also play an instrumental role in communities’ food security systems, as surplus stocks are donated to area food banks, and ...
- Living Local: Splendid Earth AcresThis article was written by as part of the “Living Local: Small-Scale, Large Impact” project by Chandler Joiner, Environmental Educator at the Maryland Coastal Bays Program. Splendid Earth Acres is a small farm just down the road from Main Street in Berlin, Maryland. The farm only occupies one-sixth of an acre of Jeanne Vander Clute’s backyard, ...