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


  • Evaluating our Water Footprint and Ways to Reduce Evaluating our Water Footprint and Ways to ReduceBy 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 can play ...
  • Fair Farms Legislative Priorities for 2019 Fair Farms Legislative Priorities for 2019Our Priorities Bills The Maryland Food for Maryland Institutions Act (Del. Charkoudian – HB305 | Sen. Hester – SB608) Eating local food provides many benefits to the consumer, the community, and the environment. With the hope of expanding support for local food, this bill will establish a task force that will review current state procurement processes and seek farmer ...
  • Bittersweet News for Fair Farms Bittersweet News for Fair FarmsDear friends, I’m writing to share the bittersweet news that I am stepping down as Fair Farms Campaign Manager. It has been so rewarding to see the Fair Farms movement grow into a powerful force for a new food future. Together, we have helped bring about exciting wins to build a more sustainable and equitable food ...
  • VICTORY: Hogan Administration Invests $200,000 in Farmers Market Matching Program VICTORY: Hogan Administration Invests $200,000 in Farmers Market Matching ProgramTake Action: Thank Governor Hogan for his Leadership Christmas came early for local farmers and food-insecure Marylanders! On December 21st, Governor Hogan announced that the state will be investing $200,000 in the Farms and Families Grant Program to double farmers market purchases made by low-income families using their federal nutrition benefits. Join us in thanking Governor ...
  • VICTORY: Poultry Giant Sanderson Farms Quits Antibiotics Habit VICTORY: Poultry Giant Sanderson Farms Quits Antibiotics Habit We did it! At long last, Sanderson Farms, the third largest poultry company in the country, has announced that they will end the preventative use of antibiotics on their farms. This is a big win in the fight against antibiotic resistant superbugs and we couldn’t have done it without folks like you speaking out! Almost two ...

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