About High Altitude Permaculture

At 9200 feet in Colorado, High Altitude Permaculture was established in 1992 to show that the principles and strategies of permaculture are effective in even the harshest conditions.

High Altitude Permaculture provides free introductions to permaculture, various one-day and two-day workshops, locally-based permaculture design courses of extended length, and advanced training and mentorship for new permaculture teachers and designers. Private site consultations are also available.

Our original research and demonstration site west of Boulder — which has matured over the decades — features a unique, passive solar home nestled into a hillside, a solar greenhouse and cascading terraced gardens.


Our 2-acre research and demonstration site near Salida includes a huge forest garden with annual and perennial fruits, vegetables, herbs and other useful plants, as well as the evolving retrofit of a not-so-green modular home that includes solar hot water and photovoltaic electricity.



About Our Lead Instructors
Sandy Cruz Sandy Cruz has been working towards greater sustainability at 9,200 feet for over three decades, experimenting with plants and refining strategies for living in extreme conditions. She holds a Diploma of Permaculture Design from the International Permaculture Institute and founded High Altitude Permaculture in 1992.

A long-time citizen of a small Colorado mountain town, Sandy served on the town council, water board and charter commission. As the town’s volunteer Director of Parks and Open Space for over a decade, she created a 270-acre wildlife reserve encompassing more than half the town’s area, for which she received Boulder County’s Land Conservation Award. Sandy has also served on Boulder County’s Food and Agriculture Policy Council.

In addition to piloting a locally-oriented 8-month permaculture design course — now in its seventh year — Sandy has taught permaculture for Naropa University, Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute, Sunrise Farm, Rocky Mountain Nature Association, Boulder Bioneers, Transition Colorado, Pikes Peak Permaculture. and various other groups. Widely published and interviewed, she consults on site planning and design, and has trained eighty new Permaculture Teachers around the country. Sandy recently joined the board of directors for the newly forming Permaculture Institute of North America (PINA).

Sandy is also certified as a Co-Active Coach and as a Leader for the Dances of Universal Peace. She and her partner Gene are in the process of relocating to Salida, Colorado, where she continues to demonstrate and promote permaculture, and serves on the Board of the Upper Arkansas Conservation District. Sandy is an avid hiker and has a song for just about any occasion


Peter Bane, Permaculture Teacher and Author Peter Bane Peter Bane is a permaculture teacher and site designer who has published and edited the Permaculture Activist Magazine for over 20 years. He helped create Earthhaven Ecovillage in North Carolina and is now pioneering suburban farming in Bloomington, Indiana. A teacher for Indiana University, Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute and other academic and private institutions, Peter serves on the board of the Permaculture Institute of North America (PINA) and holds a Diploma of Permaculture Design. He recently published the Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country.


Becky Elder Becky Elder was raised in the tall grass prairie of Eastern Kansas and has been gardening along the Front Range of Colorado for 35 years. She has taught permaculture for the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute, High Altitude Permaculture and Pikes Peak Permaculture. Becky is actively involved with the Transition Town movement in Manitou Springs and is the Founder and Director of Blue Planet Earthscapes, an award winning garden design and installation company. A former wildlife rehabilitator, her home gardens are Certified Wildlife Habitat, appearing in the Audubon Society’s Colorado Wildscapes. The author of Raven in the Garden, a Front Range Gardener’s Journal, Becky also trains and mentors new permaculture teachers.


Barbara Mueser Barbara Mueser is owner/designer for The Garden Muse, a landscaping company specializing in organic gardens and permaculture solutions. A Colorado Master Gardener, Barbara also holds certificates in Permaculture Design, Permaculture Teacher Training, Advanced Permaculture Design and Photovoltaic Design/Installation. Barbara has co-facilitated Boulder’s Permaculture through the Seasons! Design Course since 2009 and teaches various other workshops. Her thriving permaculture homestead yields a bounty of annual and perennial foods, including vegetables, fruits, herbs, eggs and honey. Barbara is also active in Boulder County’s GM-Know movement, working to educate and mobilize citizens around farming practices on publicly-owned agricultural lands.
Jason Gerhardt Jason Gerhardt has been applying and teaching permaculture design in diverse bioregions from the deserts of Arizona to the fresh water lakes of New York since 2005. As an emerging voice of permaculture in the US, he is known for detailed knowledge of plant ecologies, rainwater harvesting, seed biodiversity preservation, urban food production, and integrated design science. Jason has used permaculture design in the development a bioregional seed endeavor, developing ecological food production systems, and working with community organizations to apply permaculture principles on a range of scales. Jason currently teaches a permaculture design program for Naropa University, and instructs in numerous workshops and courses annually. He has taught for many well-respected organizations including Prescott College, High Altitude Permaculture, Denver Botanic Gardens, and Transition Colorado. Jason practices ecological design professionally as Real Earth Design.


Lynne Duguay Lynne Duguay is pleased to be counted among the ranks of Front Range permaculturists. She received design course certification in 2009, went on to obtain permaculture teachers certification under the tutelage of Sandy Cruz and Becky Elder, and is also certified in Advanced Permaculture Design. Lynne has played an intrinsic role in establishing the first permaculture garden at Frasier Meadows Retirement Community, and continues to work on perennial vegetable development at the site. Her future plans include introducing permaculture to school curriculae as well as developing corporate strategies. Lynne is also a founding member of the Colorado Permaculture Guild. She lives in Boulder, Colorado, where she shares her home with a crazy dog and serves on the board of trustees for her two cats.


Alison Peck Alison Peck first heard about permaculture in 1979, and it has shaped her life. In 1982, she took a three-week permaculture intensive with Bill Mollison. That year, Alison and her husband bought a house in north Boulder and started working on their ‘Permaculture Ark’ (the world even felt pretty apocalyptic back then). In 1984, she was inspired by an edible landscaping course to found Matrix Gardens — a landscape design/build company informed by permaculture and edible landscaping, but mainly focused on xeriscape. As the lead designer and overseer of all installations, Alison has worked on a wide variety of projects — single family homes, subdivisions, large permaculture ‘farms’, and multi-family developments (including Nyland Co-housing). Alison has taught permaculture, landscape design, xeriscape, edible landscaping, sustainable landscaping and drip irrigation for communities along the Front Range and at Naropa University. She is also the founder of the Front Range Sustainable Landscaping Coalition (FRSLC), which has developed a comprehensive list of Sustainable Landscaping Practices and coordinates a yearly symposium on Sustainable Landscaping.


Marco Chung-Shu Lam Marco Chung-Shu Lam has been practicing and teaching permaculture and sustainable living skills for over a decade in diverse climates from the Andes to the Hawaiian islands. Originally trained by the founder of permaculture, Bill Mollison, Marco’s focus is the hands-on, direct application of the permaculture principles. Marco has taught permaculture at Naropa University to the next generation of visionaries, and is the clinical director of the Mandala Clinic, where he practices both acupuncture and Taoist medicine. Marco is the author of The Herbal Therapeutics Manual, a guide to using local plants in the energetic tradition of Chinese herbalism. He is a founding member of the Regenerative Design Guild, a multidisciplinary professional design organization that is creating reproducible templates for urban regeneration. Marco is currently working on a silver-based complimentary currency.