Paula Anderson and Doris Butler have been friends now for over thirty years – both heavily involved in saving family farms and orchards in and around Grand Junction, Colorado.
Traveling through the neighboring towns of Grand Junction, you will notice several small orchards full of peaches and cherries. You might spot neat rows of vineyard in people’s backyards and at the very foot of the Grand Mesa.
In 1977, Paula rolled into town as the Citizen Participation Coordinator for a new planning initiative to save the farmland. Doris, a housewife and orchard owner, was living in the community at the time and opened her house to host the first organizing meeting, where Paula and Doris were able to plant the seeds of the future Mesa Land Trust.
The two women recalled the extraordinary vision and commitment that the East Orchard community embodied, remembering local meetings that often ran until 2 o’clock in the morning with passionate discourse.
Their conversation exemplified the pride you will find in Grand Junction and Palisade, Colorado – pride in their agriculture. Boasting a unique micro-climate in Western Colorado, the bounty of these communities can be tasted during the annual Palisade Peach Festival or the autumn’s Wine Tours of Grand Mesa.
In a growing American landscape of carbon-copied planning, Grand Junction and the Western Slope is an oasis of original local flavor, thanks to such community-minded neighbors like Paula and Doris.