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


  • Maryland Farmers for a Green New Deal Maryland Farmers for a Green New DealWritten 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; healthy food; access to ...
  • Steps You Can Take for a More Sustainable Maryland Steps You Can Take for a More Sustainable MarylandFrom 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 our great state and ...
  • Farmworkers’ Fight for a Livable Wage Farmworkers’ Fight for a Livable WageBy Doreen Paster Maryland made national news during the 2019 legislative session. The General Assembly passed, and then overrode the governor’s veto of a significant increase in the minimum wage to $15/hour over the coming years. Maryland is only the 6th state in the country to do so. The increase in the minimum wage is designed ...
  • Highlights from the 2017 Ag. Census Highlights from the 2017 Ag. CensusBy Mary Nell Johnson The 2017 Agriculture Census, which was released this month, provides insight into the number of farms, the overall economic vitality of the industry, and the demographics of farmers throughout the United States. The 2017 census shows a slight decline in the number of farms—there were 2.04 million farms counted in 2017 compared to ...
  • The Role Community Businesses Can Play In Supporting Our Farms The Role Community Businesses Can Play In Supporting Our FarmsBy Jane Bloodworth Rowe An excellent way to create a sustainable community with a locally-based food market is through partnerships between area growers and retailers who can help sell their products. Here in Maryland, one such partnership has developed between the Rooster + Hen Store, an organic general store with locations in Catonsville and Ellicott City, and ...

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