Talk Colorado Wine & Colorado's Wine Country: Two Grand Valley Women Fight for Family Orchards

Friday, September 12, 2008

Two Grand Valley Women Fight for Family Orchards

If you listen to National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," you may be familiar with the StoryCorps Project, a series of people's life stories as told by the people themselves. StoryCorps set up a listening booth in Grand Central Station in New York so people could wander in and start talking. They've duplicated these efforts across the country. Many of the stories are mundane, but some are more compelling than others and the best get shared. In the group's own words, StoryCorps, "is an independent nonprofit project whose mission is to honor and celebrate one another's lives through listening."

The project also has a blog,, where they recently featured the lives of two Grand Valley locals involved in the area's small family orchards. Under the headline, "Fighting For Family Farms," poster Sasha writes:

"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 vineyards 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.

You can read Doris and Paula's StoryCorps conversation here.

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