Information Library

Welcome to the Urban Agriculture Information Library. This Library contains helpful information for urban farmers/entrepreneurs in Maryland.  Each section contains information on the various topics. To explore, click on the topics below:


Business Planning

Title Brief Description
Farm Business Planning Workbook

This workbook published by UMD Extension was designed so that the thoughts and objectives for your business can be organized and thoroughly documented. In the long run, your business plan will serve

many purposes, such as: Defining a new business, Setting goals and planning steps to achieve them, Evaluating the effectiveness of business and marketing strategies, Setting

a direction for the business for the next five years, Planning, growth and development for established businesses, and Supporting a loan application

Economic Assessment and Risk Management chapter of From Surviving to Thriving: Strategies for Urban Farm Success Chapter 2 of UMD Extension's urban agriculture guidebook covers economic topics important for urban farmers to understand, and provides templates for farm budgets. 
SWOT analysis and business planning

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. A SWOT analysis is a tool you can use to improve your business. You can use it to plan a new business venture, think of solutions to a problem, prepare for future risks, or strategize about how to market your products.

Urban Farm Business Planning Handbook This handbook published by the USEPA "provides guidance for developing a business plan for the startup and operation of an urban farm. It focuses on food and non-food related cultivated agriculture. The information provided is applicable regardless of whether the farm is to be operated as a non-profit or for-profit business."
The Promise of Urban Agriculture Cornell University Extension interviewed commercial urban farmers from around the US, and wrote this report summarizing "specific trends in the emerging world of urban agriculture and urban policy that seem to facilitate or disrupt individual farms’ paths toward achieving financial viability."
Free farm business planning software AgPlan, a website developed and run by University of Minnesota Extension, is a free, interactive software for developing a farm or food business plan. You can share your drafts with your team or advisors for their input. 
Enterprise budgeting webinar This recorded lecture by UMD Extension Educator Shannon Dill will introduce you to the useful practice of enterprise budgeting, which can help you assess the cost of producing a product and where to make changes to improve its financial viability. 
Enterprise budget templates The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center keeps a list of enterprise budget templates. 




Authors Brief Description
A Tenure Track Cohort Case Study (FS 1103) Jamie Morris, Neith Little, Alexander Chan, Andrew Kness, Jesse Ketterman A recent innovation in faculty retention has been to encourage tenure-track faculty who will be going up for tenure together to form a cohort that will work together throughout the tenure process. This cohort serves as a support network and a professional community of practice. The 2021 Cohort of University of Maryland Extension and authors of this brief found that the initiation of the cohort and the dedication and commitment of the cohort members are both necessary to make the cohort model a success. This fact sheet documents the group's plan of action through year 1, provides lessons learned and helpful hints and a highlight for year 2. It is intended to help future tenure track cohorts navigate a similar path and perhaps lessen the stress along the way. 
Frequently Asked Questions for Value-Added Producers (EBR-2022-0635) Angela Ferelli-Gruber, Neith Little, and Shauna Henley This publication summarizes frequently asked questions and answers for the cottage food producers and on-farm home processors. It includes definitions of common terms as well as guidance and recommendations surrounding manufacturing, processing, packaging, labeling, and selling of foods or food products produced by the Maryland cottage food businesses and on-farm food processors.
From Surviving to Thriving: Strategies for Urban Farm Success "Urban Ag Guidebook" Neith Little, Kim Rush Lynch, Dale Johnson, Nicole Cook, Ginger Myers The purpose of this guidebook is to help current and aspiring urban farmers move from crisis management to proactive risk management. As an urban farmer or urban ag entrepreneur, it’s easy to spend all your time putting out metaphorical (or literal!) fires, triaging your To-Do list, and chasing that fabled big grant or trendy new crop that you hope will solve all your financial problems. But by investing the time to clarify your goals, and what steps you need to take to achieve them, you will be better able to achieve financial stability and prevent yourself from burning out.
Salinity Matters for High Tunnels and Growing Media: How to Interpret Salinity Test Results Neith Little, Andrew Ristvey Salinity is an important consideration for the management of healthy soil and growing media, particularly in high tunnels or hoop houses. This peer-reviewed Extension factsheet provides guidance on monitoring and interpreting salinity in high tunnels. 
What Farmers Need to Know about the Worker Protection Standard (FS 1090) Neith Little, Sarah Everhart Farmers who use pesticide products must use the product in accordance with the label and are responsible for taking certain steps to prevent pesticide exposure and mitigate any pesticide-related health consequences for themselves and their employees, co-owners, and family members working on the farm. The Worker Protection Standard requires that when farmers use a pesticide with a WPS-label, they take certain protective measures to reduce the risk of illness or injury associated with exposure to pesticides. Not only is complying with the WPS a legal requirement for farmers who use a WPS-labeled pesticide, but research has shown that the practices required by the WPS benefit the health of farmers, farmworkers, and their families. Organic farmers may not realize that they are subject to the WPS. To comply with federal law and reduce pesticide-related risks, all farmers should follow pesticide label instructions and implement the recommended practices. The WPS responsibilities can be broken down into three categories: inform, protect, and mitigate. This factsheet includes a summary of the main WPS provisions.


Websites and Links

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND EXTENSION (UME) webpages on the following:
UME Agriculture & Food Systems Program Page This is a great place to start to explore the resources we have available.
Ag Marketing Website

Marketing for new farmers, alternative crops, and value-added products.  This

website has LOTS of great information on the business side of things, which is where a lot of farmers run into barriers.  If you have an idea for a farm or food business, but don't know where to go next, this is the place to go next.

Agriculture Law Education Initiative This website tries to de-mystify farm-related rules and regulations.
Agricultural Nutrient Management Program

This program helps farmers manage nutrients to grow healthy crops while

protecting water quality.

Beginning Farmer Success Website

New farmers may want to start here for tips on how to get started, and what

training and resources are available.

Commercial Ornamental Horticulture...Focusing on IPM

Look here for information about Integrated Pest Management (IPM) (managing

insects and diseases) for horticulture systems, such as greenhouses, nurseries, landscaping, and cut flowers.

Food Safety of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables The University of Maryland Plant Science Department, Food Safety Group collaborates with the Maryland Department of Agriculture Food Quality Assurance Program, UMD Agriculture Law Education Initiative, and the University of Maryland Extension Food Safety to provide Maryland farmers and producers with support, education and assistance in fresh produce safety.
Maryland Vegetables Website This is our main website for information on growing vegetables in Maryland.
Pesticide Education and Assessment Program

This is where we share information about how to use pesticides safely and how to become certified to use Restricted Use Pesticides.



Urban Ag Extension Newsletter

Urban Ag E-News is an email newsletter published monthly, with occasional additional News Flash issues.





Video Title Brief Description

What is Urban Agriculture


Interest is high in urban agriculture, with many entrepreneurs, municipalities, non-profits, and

businesses launching urban agriculture ventures. By participating in this webinar you will learn about different definitions of urban agriculture, see examples of commercial urban farming ventures, and get an overview of the variety of cropping systems, value-added products, and business models being tried by urban farmers.

Length: 42:28
Taught by Neith Little, Extension Educator, University of Maryland
From the Women in Agriculture Webinar Series



This webinar covered season extension techniques and how they can be used to reduce the

risk of climate variability and expand market access by expanding the growing season and enabling specialty crop production.

Length: 55:01
Taught by Neith Little, Extension Educator, University of Maryland, with slides developed by Bryan Butler and David Martin, UMD Extension
From the Women in Agriculture Webinar Series

Urban Soil Quality

What are the contamination risks to be aware of when growing in urban soil? How should you

test for soil contaminants? How do you interpret the test results? What treatment and management options exist? Which of those are practical? If you're interested in the answers to any of these questions, tune in to this webinar.

Length: 55:01
Taught by Neith Little,  Extension Educator, University of Maryland and Jarrod Miller, Extension Specialist, University of Delaware
From the Women in Agriculture Wednesday Webinar Series.

What to grow in an urban market garden

Growing for market in a small urban garden or farm offers both challenges and opportunities.

This webinar will talk about the kinds of specialty crops that are particularly suited to growing in an urban market garden for direct marketing to local customers. 

Length: 59:30
Taught by Neith Little, Extension Educator, University of Maryland
From the Women in Agriculture Webinar Series

Intro to organic production and certification

Organic produce has become very popular in the last 10 years. This webinar will introduce

you to organic production methods, pricing and marketing organic products, and the organic certification process.

Length: 53:31
Taught by Neith Little, Extension Educator, University of Maryland
From the Women in Agriculture Webinar Series

Protecting yourself and others on the farm: What you need to know about the Worker Protection Standard

Attend this webinar to learn about some easy steps you can take to protect your and your employees' health, and bring your farm into compliance with the Worker Protection Standard. Communicating clearly with everyone on your farm about your pest management practices is extremely important both to prevent accidents and to live up to your legal responsibilities as an employer. Even if you use organic practices, you still have some responsibilities under the Worker Protection Standard.

Length: 31:55

Presented by Neith Little, University of Maryland Extension
Sarah Everhart, University of Maryland Ag Law
From the Women in Agriculture Webinar Series

Getting the most out of your High Tunnel- Best Management Practices

High tunnels, also called hoop houses, are temporary structures made of metal poles

and flexible plastic. They are used to extend the growing season in early spring and late fall and to grow some specialty crops that prefer a hot and dry environment. In the past decade, farmers have built many high tunnels, some with support from the USDA-NRCS high tunnel program. But once you have a high tunnel, how do you best manage it to get the most out of your investment? This webinar will provide an introduction to important high tunnel management practices including temperature management, soil health, and growing media, irrigation, and pest and disease management.


Length: 57:48

Presented by Neith Little, University of Maryland Extension
From the Women in Agriculture Webinar Series

What Specialty Crop Enterprise is Right for You?

Growing specialty crops can provide a great niche for farms providing an opportunity to diversify and profit. The USDA defines specialty crops as “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).” By participating in this webinar you will learn how to use two business planning tools (SWOT and enterprise budget) to analyze the feasibility of the enterprise in which you are interested. Be sure to tune in to part two of this webinar later in 2018 to learn more about how to develop a specialty crop enterprise.


Length: 44:26

Presented by Neith Little, University of Maryland Extension
From the Women in Agriculture Webinar Series

Chocolate production in Ghanta, Liberia: A local food case study

A case study of how students a college in Ganta, Liberia, started a chocolate value-added product company to create jobs and support local farmers. 


Length: 29:53

Presented by Anna Glenn, of Liberia International Christian College, and Joshua Zemah, of Redimere Chocolate. 

From the 2021 Urban Farmer Winter Meeting

How to start growing mushrooms

An introduction to mushroom production practices for urban farmers.


Length: 34:18

Presented by Kwesi Asante, EcoCity Farms, with training and support from Yolanda Gonzalez, Cornell Cooperative Extension

From the 2021 Urban Farmer Winter Meeting

Food safety steps to sell dried herbs in Maryland

Do you grow herbs and want to turn them into a value-added product? Do you want to make and sell herb mixes or herbal tea? This presentation will introduce you to the relevant food safety steps and regulatory process to do so in Maryland.


Length: 34:18

Presented by Dr. Angela Ferelli, University of Maryland, Plant Science Department, Food Safety Group

From the 2021 Urban Farmer Winter Meeting


How does a Soil Conservation District help urban farmers conserve resources?

Soil Conservation Districts are local public service agencies that help farmers conserve resources. In this presentation, the Prince George's Soil Conservation District explains how they work with urban farmers to conserve soil and water. 


Length: 36:45

Presented by Steve Darcey and Kim Rush Lynch, Prince George's Soil Conservation District

From the 2021 Urban Farmer Winter Meeting


Diseases and pests of hydroponic and greenhouse plants

This presentation introduces common diseases and pests of controlled environment agriculture, greenhouses, and hydroponic production.


Length: 37:02

Presented by Dr. Karen Rane,  Director of the Plant Diagnostic Laboratory, Department of Entomology, University of Maryland

From the 2021 Urban Farmer Winter Meeting


Classes and Webinars

Annual Conferences & Meetings

Annual conferences you should know about
Future Harvest Annual Conference The University of Maryland Extension partners with Future Harvest CASA on beginning farmer trainings, including by teaching at their annual conference in College Park, MD.
Maryland Organic Farmers Association Annual Meeting This Organic Farmers' Association meeting usually happens in Annapolis in February. 
MidAtlantic Fruit and Vegetable Convention This Convention is a massive farmer meeting organized by the state horticulture and vegetable growers associations and Extension systems of Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia. It is held annual in Hershey, PA. The Convention includes growers' meetings, professional development, research updates, a huge industry trade show, and re-certification credits for pesticide applicators.

MidAtlantic Women in Agriculture Conference

The annual MidAtlantic Women in Agriculture Conference in Dover Down in Dover, DE is a place for all women involved in agriculture, from farmers to family-members to service-providers to network and learn together.
Regional Maryland Vegetable Growers Winter Meetings University of Maryland Extension organizes winter farmers' meetings in partnership with local fruit and vegetable growers' associations across the state of Maryland. These days usually include a morning of training and research updates, a lunch, the business meeting of the local growers' association, and socializing.

These meetings are usually advertised in Maryland Vegetable and Fruit Headline News. You can subscribe to this newsletter here. 
UMES Small Farms Conference The University of Maryland Eastern Shore's Small Farms Program organizes an annual Small Farms Conference on their campus in Princess Anne, MD. This is a great opportunity to learn and meet farmers from Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware.

Classes and Workshops

Beginning farmer class series:
Maryland Beginning Farmer Success

In 2021, we are trying something new for beginning farmer education.

The Maryland Beginning Farmer Success Course is a ten-week introduction to the foundational topics an aspiring farmer in Maryland should know.

The course will be offered virtually, in a blended at-your-own-pace and live (asynchronous and synchronous) format. At-your-own-pace lessons will be completed on the course page at Campus. Weekly live Q&As with Extension educators, farmers, and agricultural service providers will be available to participants who complete the week’s homework.

Registration is open through Feb 3, 2021, and the course will start Feb 4.

Urban farmer professional development:
Cultivate Baltimore This on-farm workshop series is tailored to the education and skills needed by urban farmers in Baltimore City. It is a partnership between Farm Alliance of Baltimore, and University of Maryland Extension's Urban Agriculture program. Look for announcements about this series in the spring!
Urban Farmers Winter Meeting It is a tradition in Extension to partner with local farmers' associations to organize an annual winter farmers' meeting, where farmers can socialize with their peers and brush up their knowledge and skills. In Baltimore we partnered with Farm Alliance of Baltimore to offer an annual Urban Farmers regional winter meeting on a Sunday afternoon in January.

Virtual Webinars

Mid-Atlantic Women In Agriculture Wednesday Webinars 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month at noon (EST), cost is free, all are invited to participate.

Upcoming Webinars and archives