Meet Our Team

Executive Director

Linda Appel Lipsius

Linda joined the DUG board in 2020 and stepped into the Executive Director role in 2021. She brings strong business and entrepreneurial experience to the role as well as a commitment to regenerative business and living.
She is the Co-Founder & former CEO of Teatulia Organic Teas, a universally-respected brand known for doing things better: From the 3,000-acre regenerative garden itself to Teatulia’s stunningly sustainable packaging, Linda's focus has always been to use business as a force for good. In 2012, Linda also started the mama 'hood (a resource for new & expecting moms & their families) and opened Teatulia Tea & Coffee Bar, next door to Teatulia’s Denver Headquarters.
A Denver Native, she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Columbia University in New York City and her MBA in finance and organizational management from NYU’s Stern School of Business before moving to Washington, DC, London, Los Angeles then back to Denver. She also completed her Permaculture Design Course with the Denver Permaculture Guild in 2019.
Linda currently lives in Downtown Denver with her filmmaker husband and her 14 & 12 year old children. In her spare time, Linda hangs with her kiddos, escapes to the mountains, devours movies & books and runs, practices yoga and gymnastics to keep her head & heart clear.

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Grants & Data Manager

Hannah Buchenau

As a Denver native, Hannah’s long-standing love for DUG began when she was young, watching her dad design and build new DUG community gardens. Being part of the DUG team has always been her dream, and her journey with DUG began in 2017 when she started as a Research Assistant for the Community Activation for Prevention Study (CAPS).

Between 2017 and 2019, Hannah worked as DUG’s Food Access Intern and Administrative Assistant. She joined the DUG staff full-time as Project Coordinator in 2020, and started in her current role as Project Manager in 2021.

Hannah earned her B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from Tulane University’s School of Science & Engineering in the culturally-rich city of New Orleans. She brings a strong background in research, customer-relations, neuroscience, and mental health.

Hannah has a love for all-things gardening and the microcosms of community and meaning it creates. Storytelling is her passion, and she loves exploring the importance of place-making, mental health and wellbeing, and other life-enhancing benefits of community gardening. Hannah enjoys spending time with her large, blended family and little brothers, traveling, skiing, cooking new gluten-free recipes, trying new restaurants, and reading to expand her knowledge. She loves animals, and is searching for a puppy to call her own.

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Program + Volunteer Coordinator

Laura Calderón

Laura has been in Colorado for over 2 years now, and joined the DUG team in early March 2020. Laura grew up and studied in Bogotá, Columbia, where she obtained her degree in Environmental Engineering. She lived in Sweden for 3 years where she completed her Master’s in Sustainability Science & Environmental Studies.
Laura is always finding ways to reduce waste and loves engaging the community in environmental projects. She loves traveling and adventures! 2020 was her first season gardening at a community garden and she and her family are loving it! Her 3-year-old daughter is a master weed-puller already!

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Director of Growth & Strategic Partnerships

Elaine Duncan

Senior Education Specialist

Judy Elliott

Judy has been with DUG for over 20 years and has a background in social work and horticulture. Aka ‘Jungle Judy’, she is passionate about involving youth and adults in utilizing garden - based education as a way of becoming deeply rooted in their communities and learning fun ways to actually eat the produce they grow. She is about all things of the earth and spends any free time with her grandkids (who meet her with a garden trowel to dig worms), great pyrenees dog, Maine Coon cat and extensive veggie & perennial beds & indoor tropical sunroom.

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Senior Director of Gardens

Lara Fahnestock

Lara first joined the DUG network in 2011 as a Master Community Gardener Program student and as a volunteer Garden Leader at a local elementary school garden, the Charles Hay Community Garden.

Lara joined the DUG staff as the Director of Garden Support in 2015 and brings her passion for giving back to the community to her role supporting DUG’s over 500 volunteer Garden Leaders.

Lara earned her BA at The Colorado College in Colorado Springs, she completed Naropa Institute’s Authentic Leadership Program in 2018 and the Sustainable Leadership Program with Alexander Association in 2019. When not gardening at Rosedale, her current community garden, Lara enjoys playing outside with her family, doing taekwondo, and drawing.

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Manager of Human Infrastructure

Eliza Greene

Eliza joined DUG in the spring of 2021 as part of the inaugural DUG Corps, supporting the community gardens. In 2022, she transitioned to her role as Manager of Human Infrastructure, expanding her support in the gardens to work more closely with the volunteer Garden Leaders and co-lead the seasonal DUG Corps. Eliza grew up growing food in Massachusetts and worked in landscaping seasonally for over a decade. She brings her love for digging in the dirt and helping things grow with her to her role at DUG. With a BA in Sociology and an MA in Social Justice and Community Organizing, she also brings curiosity about the world around her and dedication to working with people to make it better. She is inspired by the skill-sharing, education, empowerment, and community resilience that gardening in community cultivates.

In her free time, Eliza is most likely going for a walk in nature with her rescue dog Jasper, lost in a good book, or attending a community event.


Director of Permaculture & Perennials

Creighton Hofeditz

Creighton grew up in the foothills of the Front Range and studied theater in college before later switching paths with a design course at the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute in 2011. Since then he has designed and implemented home landscapes, public projects, four-season greenhouses, two school curriculums, and was a contributing author on the book The Forest Garden Greenhouse. He learned tree care from two years apprenticing at Bullocks' Permaculture Homestead in Washington State, and spent six years teaching farm- and place-based science to junior high students. He has been the lead facilitator of the Denver Permaculture Design Course since 2015, and spends his free time playing music, feeding chickens, and dreaming up new ideas for his backyard permaculture oasis.


Director of Marketing & Communications

Niko Kirby

Niko is a lover of all things design--from logos, websites, and brochures to houses, gardens, and social systems. She holds a Graduate Certificate in Communications with a concentration in Marketing and has been with the DUG team since April 2020. Before coming to DUG, she worked as a freelance designer focusing on non-profit and startup web design and marketing.

In her free time you can find her out on the water in her inflatable kayak, singing angsty folk music with her band, chasing butterflies with her kitties, or making a big dinner for her six-person intentional community house.

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Food Access Coordinator

Dylan O'Neill

Dylan joined the DUG team in March 2022. He graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in English Literature and most recently received his Masters Degree in Sustainable Food Systems from The University of Colorado - Boulder. After nearly 2 decades in the hospitality industry Dylan changed course to fight against the inequities and lack of sustainability he witnessed in our food systems.
He believes major systemic changes need to take place in order to alter the oppressive food regimes many of our most vulnerable citizens live within. Agriculture has the power to effectively enhance urban resilience and adaptive capacities, while also addressing critical issues such as social empowerment, food security, ecological regeneration, and climate change adaptation.
There are few solutions that work across such a wide spectrum of influence when it comes to addressing the urgent needs facing urban communities. It is his great hope that cities across the planet, with the help of organizations like DUG, will begin to see the true potential of agriculture and work diligently to expedite the development of robust and equitable urban food system networks.
When he’s not working he can be found running around the mountains, traveling with his wife, and tending to his home garden.
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DUG Corps Physical Infrastructure Lead

Alex Oldham

Alex was our first Fransisco Cordero Legacy Apprentice and is now our DUG Corps Physical Infrastructure Lead. Alex is a very outgoing yet nonchalant person who is easy to connect with. Alex is a natural athlete with a lot of motivation to be in better physical shape and reach higher levels of skill. He loves all kinds of fruit and is trying to add more vegetables to his menu. He grew up doing farm work with his grandfather and is familiar with getting out and doing physical activities. He loves to spend time alone to watch movies or vibe to some music and is a low-key superhero nerd.

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Director of Youth Education

Rob Payo

Rob holds a BA in Biology from the University of Colorado-Boulder and an MA in Counseling Psychology from the University of Colorado-Denver. He brings over thirty years of experience in education in informal settings, ranging from leading outdoor expedition trips for high school students to serving as an outreach and education manager for a large, long-term initiative under the National Science Foundation.

Before joining DUG, Rob was the teacher programs coordinator for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS), serving there for ten years in that role with an emphasis on bringing local and national partnerships to the museum and supporting teachers with trainings on the latest trends and approaches in effective science teaching. Prior to that, Rob also served as Outreach Programs Manager for DMNS, extending the museum’s reach out into the community.

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Equity & Food Access Director

Brittany Pimentel

Brittany hails from the Great Lake state of Michigan. For the past 18 years, she's held a smorgasbord of non-profit and food-related roles; from restaurants and farm fields, to food policy and nutrition education realms. She holds a Masters Degree in International Development with a concentration in Food Security and Global Health from the University of Denver. Following her Peace Corps service in Mongolia, her relationship to food and culture took root and changed her life.

Brittany has worked extensively in shifting urban agriculture toward food justice and equitable food access for all, and seeks ways to deepen connection to community through growing good food. Brittany leads DUG’s metro-wide Grow a Garden program, water conservation efforts, community connections and public gardening classes. Mother to Willa and Indigo, Brittany enjoys trail running, yoga and supporting young families as a birth doula.

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Bilingual Youth Education Coordinator

Paula Thomas

After more than a decade in the kitchen working as a pastry chef, I moved to explore the history of food, the people who grow and produce it, and the land we occupy to grow or raise the food on our plate.

This journey took me to the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy, where I received a Master's degree in World Food Cultures and Mobility, and also had the opportunity to work at the Slow Food International headquarters connecting with leaders across the world.

I've had the fortune to work with communities at the local and global level, promoting community-based programs that support food sovereignty and environmental justice. I have visited farms in Mexico, Colombia, Greece, The Philippines, and many European countries, to understand diverse methods of food production with an emphasis on the connection between our food and the environment.

I'm endlessly curious about food origins, the mobility of ingredients, the cultures built around them, and our modern outlook of food, the nostalgia of food rituals and traditions, and the socio-economic and environmental aspects of the way we eat [and drink].


Digital Marketing & Events Manager

Shelby Winter

Shelby is a marketing generalist and events manager. She's passionate about community-building, sustainability, food access, and art, and her experience includes leading integrated marketing initiatives from conceptualization through post-execution with tactical skills in content curation, website re-design, social media strategy, and targeted email campaigning.

Shelby holds a B.S. in Mass Media and Communications, with a focus on art criticism completed during studies at Florence University of the Arts.

Her portfolio of work includes Directing Marketing and Resource Development for Boys and Girls Clubs, Special Projects and Marketing at the Downtown Denver Partnership, Event and Marketing Management with Denver Startup Week, and PR/creative content for Great Outdoors Colorado and the Generation Wild movement.

In her free time, Shelby likes to find a way to be outside with a good book.


We work with a variety of contractors to ensure all our projects are staffed appropriately.

Please direct all finance inquiries to

If you are interested in working with DUG, please visit

Meet Our Board

Le'alani Boykin

Senior Associate at Connected Realities, LLC

Le`alani (Kanaka `Ōiwi) is a community planner, collaboration specialist, and Senior Associate at Connected Realities, LLC. She empowers stakeholders and promotes useful input for community planning & design projects and community resource programs through careful process design and facilitation. Since 2008, she has provided meeting facilitation, participatory planning, capacity building, strategic planning, and training services to local, regional, and federal governments, nonprofits, and community-based groups and organizations. In her previous work, Le`alani served with the National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program, City Parks Foundation - Partnerships for Parks, and NYC Parks GreenThumb.

Le`alani holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Design and a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Colorado. She is a certified planner of the American Institute of Certified Planners and a Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program.

Le`alani loves hiking, camping, gardening, playing piano and ukulele, singing, and dancing hula or anything that gets our hips moving. She lives in Denver with her husband and partner, Whitney, and kitten, Kamana`oulu.

Diana Denwood

Senior Water Conservation Specialist at Aurora Water

Diana is a Senior Water Conservation Specialist at Aurora Water specializing in commercial efficiency and water-wise landscaping, as well as the liaison between the City of Aurora and its 22 community gardens. She earned a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Colorado and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Illinois.

Diana serves on the Board of Directors for Colorado WaterWise, a local non-profit focused on water conservation. She loves identifying plants on hikes, cooking and eating, and tracking down water leaks. Diana lives in Aurora with her husband, Adam, and cat, Callie.

Andrew Feldman

Partner, Private Wealth Advisor at Legacy Wealth Partners

Andrew Feldman is a Private Wealth Advisor & Partner at Legacy Wealth Partners, LLC. Since 2006, Andrew has provided financial services to clients and specializes in personal wealth management for individuals and business owners. In addition to helping clients explore better ways of managing their current finances, Andrew equips clients to effectively manage their transition from asset accumulation during their working years to asset decumulation in retirement. His comprehensive financial plans address asset management strategies, retirement planning, business succession and estate conservation.
Andrew has called Colorado home for 22 years and currently lives in Denver with his wife, Allison. Together they enjoy traveling the globe, skiing, and anything else that takes them outside with their dog, Lilly.

Brooke Gabbert

Founder, Penn Street Communications

Brooke Gabbert is an accomplished communication professional with more than two decades of experience in marketing and communications under her belt. She has held leadership positions across a spectrum of companies including HomeAdvisor, Six Flags and, most recently, Guild Education, to name a few.

Throughout her career, Brooke has mobilized internal and external teams to produce small networking events to large-scale summits and media productions, from national media productions to HomeAdvisor thought leadership forums to Guild Education's inaugural FUTURE19 Summit.Presently speaking:In 2018, Brooke founded PennStreet Communications, a strategic marketing communications firm, specializing in public relations strategy and event management. Tailoring her expertise to the specific needs of her clients, she brings unmatched drive, unrelenting passion and a wealth of experience to every table.

Karen Good

Board Chairwoman | Project Manager at City & County of Denver

Karen Good received a Master’s in Landscape Architecture from the University of Massachusetts in 2000. She has been with the City of Denver for over 14 years and is currently in the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. Karen
has worked on a variety of transportation projects including Corridor visioning and planning for Brighton Boulevard, Federal Boulevard and Washington Street, City coordination for CDOT’s I-70 East EIS, Federal Boulevard’s NEPA, 14th
Street Project as well as the Strategic Transportation Plan.

Karen serves on the 14 th St and Brighton GID District Advisory Boards in her role with the City and is a Garden Leader at the Shoshone Garden and Secretary for the Denver Urban Gardens board, as well as serving as Vice Chair of the WTS
International Foundation.

Chloe Mickel

Attorney and LEED Green Associate at Brownstein Hyatt Faber Schreck

Chloe is an attorney at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck in Denver. She focuses her practice on construction disputes, litigating legal issues such as reach of contract, design and construction defects, mechanic’s liens, bid protests and award disputes, delays, and property damage.

Chloe moved to Colorado from the east coast about 4 years ago. She loves living near the mountains with her husband, Clint, 3-year old son, Parker, and two French bulldogs, Professor Bonsai and Quinn.

Ramonna Robinson

President of Ground Floor Media

Ramonna’s focus is on culture and innovation in the workplace. Her ability to navigate the unexpected has earned her an unparalleled reputation in the industry among clients and competitors alike. Since joining Ground Floor Media in 2005, she’s been instrumental in expanding service lines and garnering awards that recognize the agency’s culture. Known for her presence under pressure, she has supported countless high-profile events and incidents, including hospitals dealing with drug diversions; the shootings at Columbine High; international sporting events like the Olympic Games and more.

Melissa Rosas

President at Apex Design

Melissa Rosas was born and raised in west Chicago to immigrant Mexican parents. She attended Marquette University and received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degree. She moved to Denver in 2003 after her company sent her out here towork on the T-REX transportation project in which she fell in love with Denver. After receiving great experience at two companies, she was asked by Apex Design to join as a partner and in 2008, she did so.

In 2013, she became the President of this growing transportation consulting business and they are thriving at over 50 employees. She is married and a mother to two children, ages 15 and 12. She enjoys traveling with your family, reading and is a houseplant hobbyist. In terms of community and civic engagement, she believes strongly in community involvement and her passion lies in education as shown in her volunteer work for various organizations.

Melinda Warner

Garden Leader at Golden Community Garden

Melinda Warner is a seasoned gardener and has been a leader at the Golden Community Garden for nearly 10 years.

She volunteers her time and effort as lead of a donation based garden. This multiple bed garden space in Golden grows fresh produce
and donates all the harvest to the local food bank. Each year presents both challenges and successes. This garden space has provided hundreds of pounds of food each year.

Melinda Was born and raised in rural Iowa spending her formative years enjoying the lessons learned from living the midwest lifestyle of hard work and love of community. Melinda graduated from the University of Iowa with a BBA in Finance and Economics. She worked as an accountant and leasing agent for many years. She then found herself enjoying the restaurant industry learning the tricks and tips of customer service. Melinda met her husband, Chris, while living in Annapolis, MD. Melinda and Chris moved to the west Denver area 10 years ago. They have a daughter, Wendy. Melinda loves to garden, spend time outdoors hiking, walking, and jogging, doing yoga and other fitness, reading books listening to podcasts, and simply sharing time in community with others. Melinda believes the community garden is a space that can bring peace, calm and friendship.

Zane Way

Relationship Manager, Well's Fargo Middle Market Banking Office, Colorado

Zane Way, a 21-year Wells Fargo veteran, is a relationship manager for Wells Fargo’s Middle Market Banking Office in Colorado. Active in the community, Way serves as board treasurer for Denver Urban Gardens. He is also a board member for The Challenge Foundation where he assists in helping smart, ambitious students break the cycle of poverty through education opportunities in theDenver area.

He has participated in various programs within the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, including Leadership Denver, the Public Affairs Council, Impact Denver and the Chamber 100 Program. In 2009, Way was named one of the Denver Business Journal’s annual Forty under 40 winners. This award recognizes dynamic business leaders whose efforts in the office and in community are shaping the future of the Denver area.

Way served as an officer in the United States Army Reserves for 13years. He was deployed to Afghanistan from 2005-06 as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.Way has a degree in marketing from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from Colorado State University. He is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society for graduating in the top 20 percent of his MBA class.

Interested in joining the DUG board?

We accept applications year-round.

Email us to learn more.


Not pictured: Lionel Foster