Fort Wayne man hoping weather cooperates to grow crops that will be donated

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Dick’s Organics is located on the southwest side of Fort Wayne near the airport. When you’re there, you see the occasional plane coming in or taking off. Besides that, it feels like you’re out in the country. Many area farmers are working hard, trying to get things in the ground as soon as possible in what has been a dry stretch compared to earlier this spring. The rainy spring has affected this farm that is unique compared to most of the others.

At first glance, this looks like many other area farms or gardens, one that’s behind schedule, planting late after the rainy spring so far.

Rick Ritter from Dick’s Organics says, “We’d have probably potato plants that’d be a foot tall.”

The owner is Rick Ritter. He was a therapist for nearly 38 years, and spent a lot of time with people who were having trouble in life. Whether it be homelessness or mental issues, he has a career full of helping people that are facing challenges.

“I still feel to this day that if somebody’s homeless for example, I think they deserve to have the best food available because that’s going to help them get on their feet,” says Ritter.

Ritter runs a seven acre plot called Dick’s Organics, named after his father and grandfather.

“I’ve always been involved in gardening since I was a little kid,” says Ritter.

On it, he grows dozens of different vegetables and also fruit as well.

“I think it says something as a community, if we’re feeding people better or the best food, I think we’re saying something about the value of that person as well,” says Ritter.

The harvest, well, that’s donated. Because of his generosity, he’s caught the attention of people in the field of agriculture, and they have helped out.

“I have seed companies from all over the country that donate seeds. I have neighbors, Wood Farms that has a hog operation. They had some damaged hog panels that they weren’t going to use again, so I’m using them as tomato fencing this year,” says Ritter.

The labor though, that’s mostly done by Ritter himself. He used to plant on a fifteen acre plot. He’s dialed that down to make things more manageable. With the help of volunteers, and good weather, he’s able to provide nutritious food to individuals in need.

“Even if all my volunteers bail out on me, I can still pretty much struggle along and manage the seven acres because I’m here every day and I never go on vacation because this is like being on vacation for me,” says Ritter.

Ritter donates the harvest to St. Mary’s Soup Kitchen, Aldersgate United Methodist Church, and 9 mile United Methodist Church. If you’d like to help out, you can contact him at 260-341-2287.

Jon Wilson

Jon Wilson

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