Land Trust launches map feature to connect locals to ag businesses

Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, July 6, 2024-

The Colorado West Land Trust has launched a new feature on its website to help people find locally produced agriculture from farms that have also conserved their land.

The Land Trust recently announced that a new interactive map showing where you can buy produce and services from its conserved landowners was available on its website. Colorado West Land Trust Executive Director Rob Bleiberg said this was something other land trusts have done and they wanted to replicate to highlight Western Slope producers.

“For years we’ve been eager to identify ways to connect members of our community with local food from producers who have shown a commitment to conservation,” Bleiberg said. “We’ve been looking at different ways to do this and decided that this was a great way to raise awareness around local food.”

The producers highlighted on the map have primarily conserved their land for agricultural uses, Bleiberg said. Although the Land Trust also protects land for its value as wildlife habitat or scenic beauty, Bleiberg said it also seeks to conserve land for other uses like agriculture.

“Our mission includes protecting lands for agriculture, for wildlife habitat, for recreation, for scenic beauty, for community character and these particular land owners and properties that we’re highlighting are conservation agreements that are focused on local food and also water conservation as well,” Bleiberg said.

Peachfork Orchards and Vineyard owner Philip Patton, whose agriculture business is featured on the map, said he appreciated the additional support from the Land Trust. He said he’s glad he conserved his land and hopes other producers will do the same.

Phillip Patton, owner of Peachfork Orchards and Vineyards in Palisade, walks through a row of peach trees.. Larry Robinson / The Daily Sentinel

“If more farmers do it, it will save agriculture,” Patton said. “I think there are plenty of places and locations that we can subdivide and people can live, but this area up here because of the breeze that comes out of the mountains and the water we have, this is a good place to farm and there’s a big market for our agriculture.”

Connecting producers to the local market is part of the reason the Land Trust launched the new map feature, but also to highlight the conservation aspect, Bleiberg said. He said they wanted to recognize the producers that have conserved their land.

“We want to see that we not only protect the land and water so that it is available for food production, but also we recognize that agriculture is a challenging business and we want to support our producers, especially those that are looking at selling directly to local markets,” Bleiberg said.

The Land Trust will continue to add more agricultural producers to the map over time, Bleiberg said. He praised the work of local producers, as well as the quality of their products.

“There’s a wonderful diversity of food and fiber products that are coming from lands that have been conserved,” Bleiberg said. “We just think it’s great to close the loop with the local consumers with these producers.”

You can find the new map feature on Colorado West Land Trust’s website at

By Dan West, Read full Daily Sentinel Article Here