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

  • Press Release: Environmentalists, Consumers and Farmers Work Together to Reform Maryland’s Food SystemPress Release: Environmentalists, Consumers and Farmers Work Together to Reform Maryland’s Food System
    Fair Farms campaign showcases sustainable farmers who “farm against the grain.” Annapolis, Md. (December 9, 2015) – A network of nonprofit organizations, farmers, consumers and businesses publicly launched a new campaign today, seeking to reform a Maryland food system that they say lacks adequate fairness, transparency and accountability. Participants say the Fair Farms campaign seeks to invest in ...
  • Kim Wagner: Farming with IntegrityKim Wagner: Farming with Integrity
    The story of how I began farming isn’t typical. At the age of 39, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. Although I had a career as a nurse, I wasn’t taught about nutrition and the implications of what we put in our bodies. Throughout my cancer treatment, I became aware of all the ...
  • Fair Farms Partners with Farmers to Help Stop the Spread of SuperbugsFair Farms Partners with Farmers to Help Stop the Spread of Superbugs
    Farmers care about the health of their families and communities just as much as anyone. That’s why Fair Farms is partnering with farmers to help address the issue of antibiotic resistant superbugs. Estimates suggest that 70% of the medically important antibiotics sold in the United States are sold to raise chickens, hogs, and cattle on large ...
  • BuyingPoultry: Verifying What’s on the LabelBuyingPoultry: Verifying What's on the Label
    Browsing the packaging and labels on poultry products at any major grocery store you’ll see pictures of wide open, sunny fields with chickens and turkeys happily roaming on them. You will also see words like “pasture raised,” “natural,” “free range” and “cage free.” It’s a lot to decode. How can we be sure these labels ...


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