About

Through healthy soil, The Million Acre Challenge builds common ground among farming, profitability, resilience, and the environment. We believe farmers are the experts and that soil health is a journey. We encourage curiosity and facilitate exploration.  We connect farmers with each other. We also provide up-to-date scientific information and research, a soil health benchmarking study, educational opportunities, and financial analysis to promote soil and ecosystem health through our Soil Health Hubs. We engage producers, farm service providers, and consumers to craft policies to incentivize and support healthy soils practices.

 

Our goal is to achieve one million agricultural acres in Maryland using healthy soil techniques by 2030, while sharing best practices and making healthy soil connections throughout the Chesapeake watershed.

 

Science shows that certain agricultural practices build healthy soil, while also capturing and storing carbon and providing solutions to on-farm impacts from climate change. Many farmers are already embracing these practices, while others want to learn more – especially how to connect healthy soils practices with increased farm profitability and resilience.

 

The Million Acre Challenge works with innovative farmers to inspire others across the state to join the healthy soils challenge. We meet farmers wherever they are on their soil health journeys, ask what they want to learn, and help them find the best tools and management practices to address their unique challenges and set and achieve their soil health goals.

We recognize that many of the practices now lifted up as regenerative and scientifically cutting-edge have deep roots in traditional methods across cultures, classes, and historical time frames. We honor the originators of those practices and the ecological expertise with which they were developed and implemented.

 

While we acknowledge agriculture’s troubled history, we also recognize the its current potential as a solution, not just for production of more food, fiber and energy, but as a provider of environmental services such as equitable access to clean air, water, habitat and biodiversity and a catalyst for change in how we interact with one another and our environment.

 

Regenerative agriculture must consciously work to undo the institutional injustices of the past that have limited our shared potential and disproportionately affected Black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) and other historically marginalized groups. We must be deliberate in the tools, practices and resources we promote to assure that they promote equity. Together, we have the potential to shift the conversation towards sharing knowledge to create natural abundance, resilience, and strength through diversity.

 

We commit to:

1. Intentionally seek BIPOC representation both in individual and organizational membership within our collaborative

2. Elevate BIPOC speakers into “main stage” events to elevate their regenerative agriculture practice stories

3. Create space for Million Acre Challenge BIPOC farmers to share resources, ideas, and information as they see fit

4. Collaborate with our member organizations to build upon, reinforce, and amplify their own equity and diversity efforts

5. Provide opportunities for traditionally underserved producers In our financial, policy, and technical assistance work

 

We welcome feedback on this or any other aspect of our project. Contact us.

Our Mission

The Million Acre Challenge helps Maryland farmers build soil health, increase farm profitability, and improve water quality – while making farms resilient and active in the face of climate change. Our farmer-focused collaborative uses soil health science, economics, education, and incentives to achieve our mission. Get in Touch.

Our Vision

Our vision is enhanced soil and ecosystem health and increased farm profitability on at least one million agricultural acres in Maryland, with significant progress and partnerships in the Chesapeake region, by 2030.

Founding Partners

Staff Contacts

Amanda Cather, Project Director

amanda@millionacrechallenge.org

(240) 812-2896

Elizabeth Beggins, Maryland Agriculture Outreach Specialist, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

ebeggins@cbf.org

(410) 200-8431

Lisa Garfield, Million Acre Challenge Manager, Future Harvest

lisa@futureharvest.org

(202) 716-0217