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 has worked with NRCS to implement other sustainability practices such as cover crops, integrated pest management, nutrient management, and a drainage system around the high tunnels to further improve her operation. She now 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 also 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.
The Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District commends Louise for her stewardship efforts, growing food for her local community while protecting the land and valuable natural resources of the county.