Over 300 Years in Agriculture
In 1709, the Snodgrass brothers, James and John, arrived in Philadelphia, having been kicked out of Scotland. Traveling south from Pennsylvania, they settled just miles across the border in northern Maryland.
Since then, the Snodgrass family has worked in the business of agriculture, now going on 6 generations. Over the years, Emory Knoll Farms evolved through many stages of traditional farming, raising corn, cattle, llamas, and even Christmas trees.
In the 1980’s, family farms came under a lot of stress from the economic downturn. For many it took dramatic changes in thinking to thrive. It was during this period that Ed Snodgrass, the current owner, began to redesign the farm under the principles of sustainability using the Natural Step process. Ed is a committed conservationist and has put most of the 150 acres of the property into an agricultural preservation trust. A significant portion of what was once open crop land is now dedicated to restoring indigenous trees and native meadow plants as a natural habitat for mid-Atlantic fauna and songbirds. As one example of the benefits of these types of changes, we currently have on record over two hundred species of birds that nest on our property or use it as a stopping place during migrations. Our belief in the advantages of sustainable practices comes directly from our experiences, and remains a central component of our operations; not only in our greenhouses and on our farm, but also in our business..
As for agriculture, we are now dedicated solely to propagating plants for green roof projects. In fact, we’re the only nursery operation in North America that’s dedicated just to green roof plants. Our wholesale nursery has been in operation since 1998. Our green roof plant business was incorporated by Ed and his business partner, John Shepley, in 2004. In October 2010, Emory Knoll Farms became one of the first ‘Benefit Corporations’ in Maryland under the state’s 2010 Benefit Corporation Statute. We became a Benefit Corporation to acknowledge that our company plays an important role in providing a public benefit, as well as providing value for the stakeholders in the company.
As a green roof plant nursery, Emory Knoll Farms has provided plants for over 1,000 green roof projects, totaling hundreds of acres of planted roofs, and millions of gallons of managed storm water. We remain active in plant Research and Development and are constantly acquiring and studying new varieties of plants. We currently collaborate on green roof research projects with industry professionals at educational institutions and nurseries in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
As our business continues to grow, we maintain a strong sense of our heritage here, as well as a close connection to the original beauty and vitality of the land.