Farmer Report – Why Mow When You Can Garden?

Farmer Report – Why Mow When You Can Garden?

In the interview below, Marissa Renz, the founder of Plant Happiness LLC, shares about her journey in developing her 4,000 sq. ft. market garden. Marissa married her love of native plants to her gardening business, and the result has been phenomenal! Not only does she provide food for her family, customers, and beneficial wildlife, but she also educates others on incorporating conservation practices in their growing spaces. Plant Happiness LLC continues to make a positive impact on the environment and the Fort Wayne community.

The market garden grows dozens of plant varieties including vegetables, fruits, leafy greens, and native plants that provide habitat for pollinators and beneficial insects. Crops are grown using sustainable practices such as cover cropping, composting, integrated pest management, and companion planting.

Marissa’s garden shows that no matter what size your lot, garden, or farm is, you can make a big difference on the environment around you. Adding native plants to your landscaping or garden can increase water infiltration into the soil and can provide habitat for beneficial insects and pollinators. Keeping your soil covered with biodiverse plants, mulch, or cover crops keeps soil intact and can build organic matter.

Learn from gardeners like Marissa about how to make a big impact in your community and in your home!

Visit the Plant Happiness LLC website here:

Want to learn from Marissa directly? Check out some of her upcoming classes:

Rivers Summit III

Rivers Summit III

Leaders, innovators, elected officials, and community members come together to discuss the state of our rivers, the fluid economics of good water, and how to turn challenges into opportunities.

Our Wednesday evening event begins at 6 p.m. and will take place at Promenade Park featuring a social hour, discussions on the local impacts of riverfront development, the smart sustainable Great Lakes Region cluster, and the economics of harmful algal blooms.

The Rivers Summit III September 16th event will begin at 9 a.m. and be held at The Grand Wayne Center. The Summit will address federal commitments to water quality, partnerships that succeed, the state of the lake (Erie), and feature a panel discussion with leaders in water quality followed by a Q&A session.

This year’s guest speakers include Jim Banks– U.S. Congressman; Susan Crouch– Indiana Lieutenant Governor; Dave Heine– Indiana State Representative; Dr. Chris Winslow– Director, Ohio Sea Grant Program; Richard Batiuk– Retired Associate Director for Science, Analysis, and Implementation at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program Office; Jeff Reuter– Former Director, Ohio Sea Grant Program; Matt Fisher– Lake Erie Foundation; Jordan Hoewischer, Ohio Farm Bureau; Jeff Leonard, Defiance City Administrator; with introductions given by Tom Henry– Fort Wayne Mayor; Ann Marie Smrchek– Maumee Watershed Alliance and Dick Waterfield– Waterfield Capital.

Tickets for the evening event are priced at $10 each and include a beverage ticket. The day event is priced at $30 and includes lunch and refreshments. Our General Admission ticket includes entry to both events and is priced at only $35. We are offering a 50% student discount and limited scholarships are available. Email for scholarship application and information.

Buy Tickets for the Rivers Summit III here

2020 River Boat Tours Prove to Be Successful

This fall, the Allen County SWCD and the Maumee Watershed Alliance had numerous opportunities to give tours of Fort Wayne’s three rivers – the St. Mary’s, the St. Joseph’s, and the Maumee. These tours were designed to educate both farmers and urbanites on the importance of water quality and the part everyone plays in maintaining and improving the water quality around Allen County. Greg Lake, the Allen Co. SWCD Director, and Dan Wire, an Associate SWCD Board Member and Maumee Watershed Alliance Member, expressed how important it is to get people on the water. According to Dan Wire, “When people get on the river, they realize it’s not as bad as they thought.” Riding the river also gives an understanding of the programs already in place to improve and maintain water quality and the opportunities to get involved.

The Allen County SWCD even had the chance to give a tour to both Tom Bechman, the editor for the Indiana Prairie Farmer, and Jerry Raynor, the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist. Dan Wire and Greg Lake shared about the programs that improve water quality locally, and Jerry Raynor spoke about what is happening statewide in the promotion of conservation. Tom Bechman wrote several stories about his trip to Allen County and published them in the October 2020 issue of the Indiana Prairie Farmer. Now the message of water quality is being spread across Indiana.

Take a look at these articles written by Tom Bechman from his visit to Allen County!