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 farming practices currently practiced as regenerative and scientifically cutting-edge are deeply rooted in traditional methods across cultures, classes, and historical time frames. We proudly honor the originators of those practices and the ecological expertise with which they were developed and implemented.

 

While we acknowledge the troubled history of agriculture in the United States of America, we also recognize its powerful potential as a solution, not only to ensure food and nutrient security through production of more food, fiber and energy, but also as a provider of vital environmental services such as equitable access to clean air, water, habitat and biodiversity, and a catalyst for changing how we humans interact with one another and the environment. 

 

In order to be effective, regenerative agriculture shouldn’t only protect and preserve the health of the soil and the environment, it should also act as a tool to deliberately undo and dismantle past and present systems and institutions, which limit our collective potential, and disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), and other historically marginalized groups. In order to succeed, the Million Acre Challenge will deliberately create, promote and deploy tools and resources which ensure equity and provide a level playing field for success. We believe that our society has the potential to shift the conversation and energy towards sharing knowledge, creating  abundance, resilience, increased capacity, strength and unity through diversity.    

 

We therefore commit to:

 

  • Listening to BIPOC farmers to learn how best to serve as partners and allies in our collective struggle for equity and justice.
  • Intentionally seeking BIPOC representation both in individual and organizational membership within our collaborative.
  • Amplifying the voices of BIPOC speakers by elevating BIPOC speakers into “main stage” events to tell their regenerative agriculture practice stories themselves.
  • Creating safe spaces for Million Acre Challenge BIPOC farmers to share resources, ideas, and information.
  • Collaborating with our member organizations to build upon, reinforce, and amplify the equity and diversity efforts of our partners.
  • Providing opportunities for traditionally underserved producers to participate in our financial, policy, and technical assistance projects and engagements.
  • Using our platform to speak out and stand firmly against systems and institutions that negatively affect BIPOC farmers.

 

 

Read more about our progress in our 2020 Annual Report.

 

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