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Food for Thought

Watch our Earth Week 2021 panels on demand below.

Why Waste? Reducing food waste at home and in the garden


Our Earth Week Series opens with five panelists who know what it looks like to waste not. Brittany Pimentel, DUG’s Director of Food Access will be joined by Lesley Beasens of Denver’s Dept. of Public Health & Environment; Helen Katich of Fresh Food Connect; Julia Lennon of We Don’t Waste; and DUG Garden Leader and food donation coordinator Kay Corbett as they share how Denver is a leader in food waste efforts and where we have room to grow.

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Lesly Baesens

Lesly is the Food Waste Recovery Program Administrator for Denver’s Department of Public Health & Environment. Lesly is deeply passionate about sustainability and believes even small individual changes can result in major collective impact. She works with residents, city staff, food banks and pantries to ensure that food never ends up in landfills but is instead eaten, redistributed or composted. Lesly’s work with the city was featured on PBS, as well as local media and podcast. Lesly was also a speaker at TEDx Cherry Creek.

Kay Corbett

Kay has been a gardener all her life, beginning on her family’s ranch in Western Colorado.  Shortly after moving to Denver, she was thrilled to join DUG’s West Washington Park Community Garden in the summer of 2010. She shares her love of gardening with her children and grandchildren who all live in Denver.

Helen Katich

Helen has dedicated her career to building organizations and participating in efforts that work towards equity, primarily with a focus on food systems.  Over the last ten years, Helen served as a Co-Founder and Board Member of Boulder Food Rescue, Co-Founder of Seattle Food Rescue, Director of Food Rescue Alliance, Program Manager at Metro Caring, and now has the pleasure of leading Fresh Food Connect.

Julia Lennon

Julia is the Programs & Education Coordinator at We Don’t Waste, a local Denver non-profit. She was raised in Long Island, NY, went to school in Boston, and moved to Denver 2.5 years ago. She loves the beach and the mountains, and is an environmentalist who is passionate about good food & not wasting it!

From the ground up: a 101 on compost + soil building in Denver


Join us to hear the latest dirt on Denver’s compost efforts. Join Senior Education Specialist and Master Composter Trainer Judy Elliott as well as Luz Croghan, Master Composter; Tay Dunklee of Denver’s Office of Climate Action; Sue Mathison, DUG Garden Leader and Master Composter; and Clinton Saunders of A1 Organics as they share their range of experiences on how healthy soil is vital for living healthier lives.

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Luz Croghan

Luz is a Colorado native, born and raised in Denver, CO. She is passionate about volunteering at community gardens, diaper banks, and food banks. Luz began her DUG Master Composting journey in 2019 and quickly fell in love.  Her family’s home compost pile now supports her own garden to feed her family, as well as local food banks in Denver and Littleton. She feels fortunate to have been able to reap from all that Colorado has to offer in education, a strong economy, and its many opportunities and encourages people to cherish its resources and be good stewards of our planet. She also believes that it is everyone’s responsibility to take an active role in Reducing, Reusing,  Recycle, and Composting. One of her lifelong goals is to continue to share the knowledge that she has learned through her work with DUG so that every family has the tools to do their part to keep our Earth beautiful.

Tay Dunklee

Tay specializes in education and community outreach for Denver’s Office of Climate Action, Sustainability, and Resiliency (CASR), focusing on waste reduction and resource recovery efforts.  She has worked closely with Denver Urban Gardens over the years to coordinate and facilitate the Denver Master Composter training program with DUG’s very own, Jungle Judy, and enjoys being able to connect Denver residents to the ‘many ways’ to compost (truly – there’s a way for every Denver resident to compost!).  Prior to moving over to the CASR team, Tay worked for the Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure’s Solid Waste Management group, directly supporting the expansion of the Denver Composts program to more than 27,000 customers in Denver.

Sue Mathison

Sue’s passion for recycling led her to DUG’s 2016 Master Composter program. Since then, she has become an enthusiastic gardener and is now Garden Leader for Samuels Community Garden. Sue’s background is in technology, but she finds so much more satisfaction from community and working with the earth.

Clinton Sander

Clinton joined A1 Organics in July 2018. He has spent the last 8 years working in the natural foods industry creating marketing initiatives, brand campaigns, and innovative merchandising techniques. He is passionate about sustainability, family, and giving back to your community. Clinton has seen first-hand the importance and value of diverting organic material away from landfills within a commercial retail food environment.

Building healthy habits in school gardens

Did you know that Denver has formed a strong network of partners supporting youth in food access and education? Join DUG’s Director of K-12 Education Rob Payo as well as panelists Mara Fleishman of Chef Ann Foundation; Lauren Howe of Healthy Food for Denver’s Kids program; Andrea Pascual of Denver Health; and Chris Woodburn of Denver Public Schools as they discuss these partnerships.

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Mara Fleishman

In 2001, Mara turned her passion for healthy and sustainable food into a career by taking a position leading the marketing efforts for Whole Foods Market on the East Coast and in Europe.  For nearly six years, she worked to raise awareness of the importance of eating fresh, healthy food. After a move to Boulder, Colorado, Fleishman decided to join her kindergartener for lunch at school one day. Shocked by the highly processed, high-sugar lunch that she and her daughter were served, she began her crusade to reform school food.

 In 2013, Fleishman left her position as Global Director of Partnerships with Whole Foods Market to work on school food reform in a full-time capacity as CEO of the Chef Ann Foundation. With three kids ranging from ages nine to eighteen, Mara brings a parent’s awareness to her work and writes about school food through that lens. Her current and archived blog posts are available on The Lunch Line.

Lauren Howe

Lauren is the Program Administrator for the Healthy Food for Denver’s Kids (HFDK) initiative out of the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment. Lauren has been involved in sustainable and equitable food systems work for the last decade, including working for the Slow Food National School Garden Program and volunteering for Denver Urban Gardens and Denver Food Rescue. A proud resident of the Athmar Park neighborhood, she’s lived in Denver since 2014.

Andrea Pascual

Andrea is the Chronic Disease Prevention Program Coordinator at Denver Public Health within the Community Health Promotion Department. She coordinates the Healthy Beverage Partnership, a collaboration of six local public health departments in Metro Denver focused on addressing health inequities and the urgent issue of children with too much weight for health experienced by children and communities of color. She also leads the Serve Kids Better Denver initiative, supporting healthy drinks in Denver restaurant kids’ meals and eliminating targeted sugary drink marketing, in partnership with American Heart Association and ViVe Wellness. She is passionate about focusing on children’s health and racial justice to ensure all Coloradans have access to a long and healthy life.

Chris Woodburn

Chris was raised just outside of Denver and grew up gardening. Naturally curious, he was working a summer job during college when the wondrous world of plants captured his attention. After graduating, Chris continued growing his knowledge of plants at a local garden center before taking a job working with students with special needs at Manual High School. There he was able to integrate gardening with students as they tended and expanded the garden. Since joining the DPS Sustainability Team full time, his role has expanded to become the garden contact for over 120 gardens across the district. Chris loves to enjoy the wonder of nature with his 3 year old daughter.

Taking Climate Action Today!


Join DUG’s Executive Director Linda Appel Lipsius and panelists Bobby Gill of the Savory Institute; author Acadia Tucker of Climate Victory Gardens; Hilary Peddicord of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and Amanda Slover of Aurora Water as they discuss how to take action with climate change starting today!

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Bobby Gill

Bobby leads development and communications for the Savory Institute––a global non-profit facilitating the large-scale regeneration of the world’s grasslands to address the root cause of food, water, and climate security. Since 2009, the Savory Institute has influenced management on over 30 million acres of desertifying grassland through its global network of 50 regional Hubs that train and equip farmers, ranchers, and pastoralist communities to utilize the land-regenerating potential of Holistic Management within their cultural and ecological context. Savory’s new Land to Market program and Ecological Outcome Verification protocol connect verified regenerative supply to philosophically-aligned industries, bringing awareness and accessibility to products whose ecological footprint are a net positive for the planet. Watch Bobby’s TEDx talk: “It’s Not the Cow, It’s the How”

Hilary Peddicord

Hilary is a science educator at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration working for Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science (CIRES) at University of Colorado Boulder. Her work supports the Science On a Sphere program, which uses a massive globe and projection system to explain storms, climate change, and other earth system and planetary patterns, which has also been released as a flat screen exhibit and a mobile application called SOS Explorer.

Amanda Slover

Amanda is a recognized garden creator, community leader, and sustainable agriculture advisor. As a thought leader in drought-tolerant and regenerative gardening, she is often asked to speak on smart xeric gardening strategies to a variety of audiences.

Acadia Tucker

Before becoming an author, Acadia started a four-season organic market garden in Washington State inspired by farming pioneers Eliot Coleman and Jean-Martin Fortier. While managing the farm, Acadia grew 200 different food crops before heading back to school at the University of British Columbia to complete a Masters in Land and Water Systems. She lives in Maine and New Hampshire and grows hops to support locally sourced craft beer in New England, when she isn’t growing food in her backyard, or dining room. She is also an Ambassador for The Rodale Institute on regenerative agriculture. Her other books are Growing Perennial Foods: Raising resilient herbs, fruits & vegetables, and Growing Good Food: A citizen’s guide to climate victory gardening.

Wellness in the garden: mind, body, + spirit


DUG Earth Week ends with a compelling group of panelists looking at Wellness in the Garden. Join DUG Program Manager and CAPS research assistant Hannah Buchenau, as well as Carolyn Anello; Asia Dorsey of Mo’Betta Green MarketPlace; Jim Garcia of Tepeyac Community Health Center; and Chris Lowry of CU Boulder as they share  newsworthy research on the healing benefits of soil to community health programs that break the mold of “one size fits all” interventions, we end the week with lively, meaningful conversation.

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Carolyn Anello

Carolyn is a dental hygienist by training and the Co-Founder of Project Worthmore and Worthmore Clinic. She has been working in the refugee community since 2009. A graduate of CU Denver and CCD dental hygiene she founded Worthmore Clinic in 2014 in response to the oral health needs of the refugee community. She is a preceptor for dental students from University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine. She has led dental mission trips to Thailand refugee camps and inside Burma. She is a mother of two daughters and the wife of Frank Anello (Co-Founder Project Worthmore).

Asia Dorsey

Asia writes Afrofutures into existence by reweaving Black bodies into relationship with the earth. Ear to the soil, she heeds the instruction of mineral, microbial, and botanical beings. She uses her gift of pattern recognition as a bioregional herbalist with the Ancestral Herbalism Healing Collective, a permaculture instructor with the Denver Permaculture Guild, and a developer of vibrant organizations that perpetuate cultures of reciprocity as an organizational consultant with Regenerate Change. As a strategist and a board member for the Center for Community Wealth Building Asia heals our economy through cooperative ownership. Asia, the Empress of Play, creates literary beauty and centers Black joy, wellness and imagination as a black arts curator and cofounder of the Palm Wine Collective. Asia is a stand that home is in our bodies and perpetuates the frequency of embodied empowerment as Co-Owner of the Satya Yoga Cooperative for POC. Asia facilitates healing. She brings forth ancestral knowledge. You can find her managing educational programs at the Seeds of Power Unity Farm swimming bone-deep in soil, bending botanical chaos long enough for her people to rise together in power and step into the wholeness that is their birthright. Join in and support her creations on Patreon and Instagram.

Jim Garcia

Jim founded Clínica Tepeyac (recently renamed Tepeyac Community Health Center) in 1994 and assumed the position of CEO in 2011. He brings more than three decades of executive management and leadership experience in community health, education, and human services programs. Prior to becoming Tepeyac’s CEO, he was a member of the executive team at Denver Health and Hospitals, where he provided operational support for the community health centers. He later served as the site director for Making Connections Denver, a ten-year initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, designed to promote school readiness and economic self-sufficiency in four low-income Denver neighborhoods.

He has served, and continues to serve, on numerous boards and committees, including the Colorado Community Health Network, the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment, and Healthier Colorado. Jim holds a BA from Regis University, and an MPA from the University of Colorado at Denver. Jim recently received the Dr. Gary VanderArk “Health Equity Champion – Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Center for Health Progress. This award honored Jim for his decades of work in service to Colorado’s Latino community and promoting health equity on behalf of all Coloradans.

Chris Lowry

Chris is an Associate Professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology, Center for Neuroscience. Dr. Lowry’s research focuses on understanding stress-related physiology and behavior with an emphasis on the microbiome-gut-brain axis; neural mechanisms underlying anxiety disorders, affective disorders; and trauma- and stressor-related disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).