Danielle Rizzo

Danielle Rizzo grows lettuce, herbs, collard greens, kale, arugula and Swiss chard at her business, River City Aquaponics.

Danielle Rizzo doesn’t mind being called “the lettuce lady.” 

It reflects a piece of her life– bringing tubs of homegrown romaine, summer crisp and fire lettuce to LifeBridge, a ministry of Southeast Christian Church dedicated to helping those in the community.

The LifeBridge team loves to see Danielle coming.

“Her lettuce is a great gift,” said LifeBridge Manager Lisa Reynolds. “Fresh produce is a blessing. The ministries usually get it the day it is harvested, so the quality is amazing!”

Danielle and her husband Scott are Southeast members who own River City Aquaponics with Josh Clark. They grow lettuce, herbs, collard greens, kale, arugula and Swiss chard without dirt.

That’s right. No dirt. No fertilizer. No pesticides.

Lettuce and herbs grow in chemical-free water in big tanks fertilized by tilapia. Eliminating soil also eliminates contamination by dangerous bacteria such as salmonella and e-coli.

The aquaponics farm is Scott’s dream. He is a full-time veterinarian and part-time farmer. He started the farm to bring healthy, quality food to the community. The Rizzos sell their herbs and lettuce at Paul’s Fruit Market and Rainbow Blossom and to restaurants and caterers and to the community at their farm stand on Mt. Eden Road in Shelbyville.

They also share the bounty.

The aquaponic process is so effective, producing eight times more food than traditional farming, that harvests are bountiful. Danielle often takes tubs of lettuce to Serenity Center, a food pantry in Shelbyville that cares for hundreds in addition to the tubs she gives to LifeBridge.

Reynolds sends the lettuce to ministries such as City Church, where Pastor Larry Coleman’s team provides lunch for 40 to 50 every day, and to Priscilla’s Place, a residential recovery program in downtown Louisville.

“We love, love, love getting the lettuce,” said Adult and Teen Challenge CEO Julie Duvall. “It’s fresh and wonderful, so healthy for our ladies.”

Danielle said sharing the bounty of their farm is like tithing the harvest.

Jay Schroder, who works in Missions Ministry at Southeast, said it’s a great example of someone using their business to bless others. The Rizzos’ farm stand is at 2983 Mt. Eden Road in Shelbyville.