Linda Appel Lipsius ’93


Linda Appel Lipsius ’93 wants people to get dirty. As CEO of Denver Urban Gardens, the largest independent community garden organization in the country, she helps ensure that thousands of Coloradans have access to green space to grow their own fresh, organic produce in a hyperlocal food system.

Spanning six counties and comprising 193 community gardens (and roughly 17,500 gardeners) DUG is all about individuality. Gardeners can plant whatever they want, from tomatoes to tomatillos, beets to bok choy. “We’re not prescriptive about what the garden needs to look like,” says Appel Lipsius, “so in every garden the personality of the gardeners comes through.”

Appel Lipsius joined DUG in October 2020 as interim CEO and stepped into the position permanently in January 2021. Going forward, she wants to continue DUG’s mission of regenerating urban green spaces and providing resources for people to grow healthy food in their communities. She also has big plans for ongoing growth: planting community orchards that will increase Denver’s tree canopy; building better composting initiatives across the city; and creating a resource and support network that can help smaller community gardens across the country succeed the way DUG has.

“Gardening has a transformational power — not just physical benefits, but also emotional,” says Appel Lipsius. “There is a direct line between community gardening and mitigating depression, anxiety and isolation. It’s a simple way to activate people around food, community and climate.”

Anne-Ryan Sirju JRN’09