Tom Pelton

Most consumers know the ‘buy local’ and 'organic' labels for produce. But not everyone knows that just because something is grown locally and organically does not mean it is good for the Chesapeake Bay.

After all, factory-farmed chicken from Maryland’s Eastern Shore is local, but organic manure from this industry and Pennsylvania dairy farms are major sources of water pollution.  People who want to pick food that is healthy for both the bay and their bodies should consider supporting visionary farmers who are also dedicated to clean water.  That would include farmers like Brett Grohsgal, 56, who has been running the Even’ Star Organic Farm in southern Maryland for almost 20 years.

Instead of growing vast fields of a monoculture – like corn or soybeans –  Grohsgal allows half of his 100 acres in St. Mary’s County to remain forested.  And he aggressively rotates 70 different crops -- including cucumber, sweet potatoes and flowers -- from plot to plot on much of his remaining land. To protect the health of the two streams that flow through his property, he planted rows of black locust trees and loblolly pines to act as natural water filters.

Grohsgal is part of the new "Fair Farms" movement in Maryland.  Fair Farms is an alliance of 90 farmers, environmental organizations and farmers that supports growers who are not only organic, but also using practices like forested buffers along streams, which many conventional farmers do not use.


Double-crested cormorants were nearly wiped out in much of the U.S. before a rebound sparked by the federal government's 1972 ban the pesticide DDT and prohibitions on shooting the fishing birds.  

Three years ago, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's administration promised to impose regulations on poultry manure to help reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.

Every winter since the 1930's, federal wildlife managers have burned sections of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

More than 90 percent of the roses purchased in the U.S. are flown in from overseas, which creates greenhouse gas pollution.

I Love Blue Sea

Because wild Chesapeake Bay oysters are increasingly scarce, many oyster harvesters are switching to growing their own oysters in tanks and underwater cages.