High Plains Plant Propagation Cooperative


Nursery 5-1-18The goal of the cooperative is to spread the practice of planting habitats in suburban landscapes.  By arranging plants that work together into guilds we create beautiful landscapes that feature long term fertility, low maintenance, flowers for bees and fruit for people.  Many of you have heard of the concept of a food forest but, since we are on the high plains, it is best to think of these as forest islands.  The cooperative will work in support of the Bee Safe Neighborhood project which is creating groups of neighbors working together to improve the habitat in their neighborhood.


The core of the cooperative is a group of people who plant and grow out the plant species that fit into these islands.

Other roles we encourage are:

  • Designers - When a customer selects a particular arrangement of plants as the template for their garden the designer of that arrangement receives a royalty.  See Obligations and Entitlements of Designers
  • Contractors - When a customer decides to install a forest island they will hire a contractor who will price out the materials, arrange for deliveries and labor, and supervise installation.
  • Laborers - Co-op members with experience building deep mulch gardens and planting in the deep mulch.
  • Sales - Co-op members who receive a commission for bringing new customers to the co-op.
  • Plant Propagators - People who grow the plants.
  • Land Owners - People can contribute land they own to host the plants the Propagators are growing out.  Perhaps a flat rate per plant sold would be an appropriate compensation.


Fruit Tree Guild SpaceA forest island is the ideal solution to many suburban landscaping issues.  We use a deep mulch of logs and wood chips, up to 24" deep that will create its own soil, requires no fertilizers, no weeding . . .

See our blog in the Mother Earth News.


The co-op is being started as a project of the Living Systems Institute which will handle the funds to start.  We will form a council of co-op members to work out policies and authorize fees and expenditures as the project develops.  If things go as planned, we will work toward structuring the co-op formally as a separate entity.


Living Systems Institute believes that projects should be based on three simple rules:

1 - Everyone gets to make their own decisions.  That means that we cannot expect anyone to participate unless we can make it worth their while.

2 - Whatever we do is open to all residents.  That means that we will find a way to participate for everyone who wants to participate.

3 - We measure progress by the diversity of participation.  That means we are doing a good job at 1 and 2.

Site PlanMember List

Review the Organizational Conversation to Date

Malcolm's Apple Guild

Plant List for Spring Plant Sale and Symposium

Forest Island Test Plot 2015

Eldridge Propagation Site


Contact Us

  • David Braden IV, Executive Director, Living Systems Institute
  • (303) 549-9787

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