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.
- Ten Lessons from the Fair Farms Initiative By Betsy Nicholas, Executive Director of Waterkeepers Chesapeake (first printed as a Waterkeeper Alliance blog) As an environmental lawyer, I was trained to see regulators and courts as the sole path to improvement. But I’ve found that going in with guns blazing and lawyers filing doesn’t get you everything you need, especially when dealing with agriculture. ...
- 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; healthy food; access to ...
- Steps You Can Take for a More Sustainable Maryland 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 our great state and ...
- Farmworkers’ Fight for a Livable Wage By 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 By 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 ...