Meet our Board of Directors


Jeff Ashba

Owner of the Organic Farm at Bear Creek and very active member of OEFFA, the Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association. He has volunteered many hours over the years to Growing Value Nursery and in development of CPI

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Braden Trauth

Braden became interested in permaculture after a journey of searching for sustainable living and sustainable design, coming from a background in Industrial Design. After several mainstream green endeavors that didn't fit the bill he began working with the Earthship Crew in 2002, self-constructed off-grid homes, under the creator of Earthships, Mike Reynolds.  After selling his Earthship he embarked on an adventure to study permaculture with the likes of Bill Mollison, David Holmgren, Geoff Lawton, Scott Pittman, Peter Bane, Dave Jacke, and others.  He now focuses on sharing and demonstrating the knowledge of designing a harmonious life with the planet in the Cincinnati bio-region.  He operates his own design consultancies, OM Valley Permaculture and Symbiosis Design, a product and systems design consultancy founded in Permaculture and Energy Theory. He is the co-founder of the Cincinnati Permaculture Institute and has co-launched the world's first Permaculture Farm Certification, Permaganic Authenticated.


Patti Walker

A lifelong gardener, former PDC Graduate and contributor to our courses, she has volunteered many hours over the years to help us get Growing Value Nursery up and running and continues to give back to the local permaculture community in many ways


Chris Smyth

After completing his PDC in 2010 in Cincinnati, Chris felt he needed deeper learning experiences and places to practice Permaculture. Apart from digging through as many books as he could, this looked like 3 intensive study experiences with Peter Bane, Grant Shultz, and finally, Dave Jacke. An urban community developer, he practices his craft as the Director of Sustainability at Price Hill Will, implementing a variety of resilience projects with his neighbors, including community gardens, food forests, and urban farms. Chris also lives in the Sankofa House, a homestead in Price Hill dedicated to remembering what it is to be human You can find him at

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Annalee Duganier 

After graduating from DAAP in Urban Planning, Annalee worked for several community development corporations, and later as a Planner for Clermont County, Covington, Kentucky and Hamilton County. She “retired” from the City of Madeira in 2014 and that summer lived in Eugene, Oregon where she interned on a farm and received her PDC. Since 2016 she has been the Community Development Projects Manager for Madisonville Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation. She joined the CPI Board in 2014 and would like to promote permaculture throughout Cincinnati.

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Susan Vonderhaar

Heavily under the influence of the first Earth Day, Susan became a student and a teacher of resource stewardship at a very young age. Today she is an adjunct instructor of Ecology and Environmental Science for Cincinnati area colleges. With degrees in Biology (BS) and Environmental Science (MS) she worked 20+ years as a Project Scientist at the U.S. EPA. When her own children entered school, she began volunteering and created the Dater Montessori Nature Center  ( Facebook/Dater Montessori Garden) She was introduced to Permaculture in 1999, completed the PDC in 2011, and her Permaculture Teacher Training in 2014.

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Daniel Hart

Originally from Richmond, VA, Daniel earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies, a minor in Geography, and a certificate in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Colorado, and in 2013 received his PDC.  He’s worked at the University of Colorado Environmental Center, Environmental Stewardships Concepts LLC, and spent a summer doing a work exchange at Dancing Rabbit EcoVillage. Currently, Daniel works as the Sustainability Coordinator for the University of Cincinnati and serves on the Environmental Advisory Council for the City of Cincinnati.