About Us

DPG is bringing permaculture to life across the Denver metro area.

In 2012, instructors and students of Denver’s Permaculture Design Course began organizing the Guild to be able to continue the life-changing experiences they were learning about.

They sought to create a community of practice and integrate permaculture principles into their daily lives and communities. DPG’s curricula have grown to encompass four yearly classes, workshops in greywater and rainfall harvesting, pruning/grafting, and other introductory and advanced topics.

There are nearly 500 people who have completed at least one of our  Permaculture Design Course, the Advanced Landscape Design Course, or the Social Permaculture for Regenerative Change course.

Our numbers speak for themselves

Design Course Graduates
Years of Educating Denver Permies
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Permaculture Workshops Held


The DPG Board of Directors currently has three members who volunteer their time to set the strategic direction of the DPG, organize events, coordinate trainings and workshops, and recruit new members and instructors.

Our Board of Directors is elected by and from the membership and uses a consensus based decision making strategy. Their role is to develop strategies and relationships that serve the greater vision of the membership.

Anders Benson

Anders grew up in the Littleton area, returning to Denver with degrees in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Administration. His first career was in the culinary industry, in restaurant work, catering, and in-home cooking. His passion shifted towards making a positive community impact, leading him to take the Denver PDC in 2012-13 followed by the Advanced Course. Since 2015, Anders has taught culinary arts and music at Denver Montessori High School. He acquired an MA in Curriculum and Instruction in 2019, which he hopes to use to improve the culture of industrial kitchen work. He is excited to support and work with DPG.

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Cece Berglund

Cece Berglund grew up in Golden, climbing trees, running up the Mesa, riding horses, and gardening with her dad. She graduated from Wheat Ridge High School, and CSU. She is a single mom of two teenage boys who are also attending WRHS. She lives in Arvada with her four dogs, a potbelly pig, cats, turkeys, and chickens. She got her certification in Permaculture when she was living in Houston. For her final exam to get her certification, her project was resolving water issues in her front yard and converting the lawn to a food producing lot while still fitting in with the style of the neighborhood.

Debra Bump

My husband and I have been on a journey for the last 10 years to become self-sufficient, living a more sustainable lifestyle. I am an avid gardener transforming my entire yard into a polyculture of growing environments sharing my yard with 7 hens and 2 small dogs. I have completed the Master Composting program through DUG, the Denver Permaculture Design Course as well as the Advanced course helping me to expand my knowledge to become a better Colorado gardener as well as community member working through the permaculture principles. Jason and I have recently had a solar system installed on our house with the goal of unplugging from Natural Gas and will then tackle greywater and add a water collection system. Nothing makes me happier than getting my hands in warm rich soil and watching my plants grow; however, when I am not doing that, my day job is selling and coordinating décor for events throughout Colorado for a local Event Décor Company.

Violeta Garcia

Dr. Violeta Garcia is a native of El Salvador and currently resides in Denver, Colorado with her two children and partner. She loves to travel and her current passion project is designing an outdoor learning lab for community use in her one-acre backyard.Dr. Violeta García’s mission is to advocate for the advancement of students who have historically been marginalized and re-engage them through experiential educational opportunities. She has built a reputation in Colorado for designing experiences in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

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Risa Hayes

Risa Hayes grew up in apartments around Denver, where ‘outside’ was a concrete pool area. She didn’t even know how to mow a lawn when she finally had a yard at the age of thirty. Her first experiment was replacing grass with an herb garden containing every herb she could grow in Colorado. The garden thrived and a passion was sparked. As a Colorado native, Risa never understood the logic of planting water-hungry lawns in the arid west and sought out alternatives, which ultimately led her to permaculture - that, and the promise of less digging! Risa’s current experiment is creating an urban food forest in northwest Denver where she can build soil, contribute to urban greenery, share fresh organic food with her community, and provide a natural space for people of all ages and backgrounds to learn about living systems, and connect with their food and the creatures that make food possible. When she’s not in the garden, Risa helps people grow collaborative capacity through community organizing, training, and leadership coaching.

Naveed Heydari

Naveed is a craftsman of his relationships—he is intentional. He makes space for difficult as well as beautiful conversations. He makes the difficult conversations beautiful. This reliability in relationships shows us the deep connection that is possible. Naveed is an artist of his world. He sees space that others pass by. He sees people that others pass by, and brings them together in the most brilliant ways. He’s infused connection and creativity with his neighbors in a space that is often literally built to keep neighbors apart with fences and large plots. He does not abide by those fences. He dedicates his free time to teaching life-changing yoga and authentic relating facilitation accessible to everyone." (Contributed by Meredith Turk) He holds a Masters in Public Health from Colorado School of Public Health and studied mosquito-borne illness for over two years in rural Ecuador. Since returning to Denver, his birthplace, he has been farming as an intern with Sprout City Farms. He plans to continue to farm with a special focus on the social aspects of the way people gather to grow, distribute and enjoy food.

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Heidi Newhart

Heidi Newhart is a realtor, recent Boulder Permaculture Design graduate, Sun Valley Food Access Collaborative member, volunteer instructor for CHAC’s downpayment assistance program, gardener, composter, and active participant in her community. Her interests focus on advocating for the urban built environment that works for people. This includes topics such as affordable housing, multimodal transit options and networks, building food networks, and helping to build cities that support a safe environment for people to move around, have access to the amenities they need, the recourses they create, close to where they live, in their everyday life.

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Lee Recca

Lee Recca lives and gardens in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, and travels to mountainous places throughout the world researching her writings and books. She obtained certificates in Basic and Advanced Permaculture Design and is the principal in a newly formed company called Urban Reclamation, involved in environmental reclamation, food and water sourcing and quality, food safety, wilderness preservation and family.

Mike Spade

Mike Spade

Mike Spade is the farm manager at Larimer Uprooted and oversees all farm production, events, and programming. While at Stony Brook University pursuing a degree in Sustainability Studies and Environmental Design, Policy, & Planning, Mike helped to develop a rooftop farm at the university’s hospital, which fed patients with dietary restrictions. Since then he has continued to cultivate his love for organic farming, trail building, and environmental education by assisting several nonprofit organizations and government entities. For the past three years, Mike has led the Plant The Seed Project youth gardening initiative and spent time at Slow Food Denver, where he led students through an entire seed-to-table experience with cooking and gardening classes. He also worked for Green Roofs of Colorado, helping to build green space on residential and commercial properties throughout the Front Range.

Louis Wertz

Louis Wertz grew up taking long road trips across the American West in the family mini-van. Since, he has been fairly obsessed with listening to and telling the stories of land stewards who protect the amazing places he fell in love with. He does this professionally as communications director for the Western Landowners Alliance. He was previously communications director with the international rural development think tank EcoAgriculture Partners, where his stories focused on land stewards in East Africa, Central America, and Southeast Asia. Louis holds journalism and world heritage studies degrees, completing his master's thesis in Yosemite National Park in 2008. In 2010 he spent a year working on an organic vegetable farm and apple orchard in majestic Mendocino County, California. He received his Permaculture Design Certificate in 2018 from the Denver Permaculture Guild and an Advanced Permaculture Landscape Design certification in 2019. Follow him on Twitter @louwertz or visit louwertz.com for more.

Want to get involved with the DPG? Become a member today!