At its Annual Meeting on September 12, Clermont SWCD named Louise Gartner its 2019 Cooperator of the Year. In two short years, Louise has gone from a small vegetable garden to raising organic crops under four high tunnels. Not only did she dive right into farming on her five-acre plot of land, just north of the Ohio River in Clermont County, she has done it successfully while having a full-time job. And like the myriad of her vegetables, her operation is still growing as well. She plans to construct two more large high tunnels in the near future to further expand her beets, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, peppers, potatoes, and zucchini production.
Louise enlisted the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for financial assistance to help offset the cost of the high tunnels. NRCS provided technical and financial assistance with other practices such as cover crops, integrated pest management, nutrient management, and a drainage system around the high tunnels. Now Louise has a very productive operation, selling to a local food Co-op based out of Cincinnati, as well as an upper-end grocery store chain.
Louise devotes her time to educating and training others. She has hosted various educational tours for groups such as; National Farm to Table conference and the Turner Farm who has a Veteran to Farmer Training Program.
It’s unbelievable to see how this farm has evolved in such a short period of time. A farming operation of this scale would typically take years to build. Louise’s ambition and drive has proven that if one has a dream, coupled with the right resources and motivation to follow through, it can become reality in the blink of an eye.
Louise Gartner motto “Don’t be afraid if it doesn’t work—keep trying.”