Meet Our Team

Benjamin Harder, Owner

Ben Harder has lived in Blacksburg his whole life and graduated from Virginia Tech in 2014 with a degree in Environmental Horticulture. Initially, Ben started off his education pursuing Biotechnology, with an emphasis on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). After learning more about GMOs, the companies that produce them and completing a few internships, he quickly decided he was not well-suited for this field.


Ben started classes about sustainable agriculture and community food systems and found that he resonated more with producing food in a way that focuses on reducing human impact on the natural environment as well as supports the local community. After learning more about industrial organic production of food also not being sustainable, Ben decided to explore alternative methods of farming and food production, discovering permaculture and some other methodologies. This inspired him to start his very own farm operation on some land his family owned in Ellett Valley, Virginia, and thus Den Hill Permaculture was born. With his team he strives to be more sustainable on the farm every year. 

Mel Henry, Awesome Market Lady

Mel is also in her second year working with the Den Hill team!
Mel majored in Sustainable Development, with a concentration in Environmental Studies, focus in Environmental Communication, at Appalachian State, and during her studies learned the importance of strengthening local, organic, farms and food systems to make a positive impact in food security on a global scale.

In her free time, Mel enjoys hiking and spending time with friends and family. She and her partner, Rob, are also working to build their own little homestead with their beloved dog, Gus, and the rest of their flock.