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 ninety species of birds that nest on our property or use it as a stopping place during migrations.
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. Emory Knoll Farms has supplied plants for more than four hundred green roof projects in over twenty-five states, the District of Columbia, and Canada, as well as overseas. We remain active in plant Research and Development and keep several test plots on site. We are always acquiring and testing new varieties of plants, and continually work on green roof projects and research with industry professionals and educational institutions around the globe. Our belief in the advantages of sustainable practices comes directly from our experiences and remains at the center of our operations, not only in our greenhouses and on our farm, but also in our business..
In October 2010, Emory Knoll Farms became one of the first ‘Benefit Corporations’ in Maryland under the state’s 2010 Benefit Corporation Statute. This means we publicly acknowledge our role in providing a public benefit as well as providing value for the stakeholders in the company. Beginning in 2011 we will file an annual report that will track our performance in terms of social and environmental contributions.
As our business continues to grow, we hope to maintain a strong sense of our heritage here, as well as a close connection to the original beauty and vitality of the land. To learn more about the sustainable practices at our farm, we invite you to explore the Sustainability pages in the About Us section. We hope you enjoy learning more about our company!