The Old Fort at Hesperus is the original site of Fort Lewis College, located 16 miles southwest of Durango and just south of Hesperus. The land is owned by the Colorado State Land Board and managed by Fort Lewis College. The Old Fort’s address is 18683 Highway 140.
This short film (Up from the Sagebrush) covers the 20th and 21st centuries as 6,279 acres on the La Plata River served as a military fort, federal Indian boarding school, high school, two-year college, and a Colorado State University Agricultural Experiment Station (San Juan Basin Research Center).
A talk by Dr. Majel Boxer and a short documentary about the Clocktower Panel Removal Ceremony by Rocky Mountain PBS provide more information about the difficult legacy of the boarding school and how Fort Lewis is handling it today. You can also read more about how the Farmer Training Program acknowledges this history in a blog post by Rocky Mountain PBS.
As part of our farmer training programs, we grow vegetables on 2-3 acres for the local community, and raise grass-fed beef. You can find our veggies and meat at the onsite Country Store, on campus at the Farm Stand, on the menu at San Juan Dining, and at the Durango Farmers Market in early summer. We also offer CSA shares with pickup locations in Durango and at the Old Fort.
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The Old Fort at Hesperus, located near Durango, Colorado, is a growing and multi-faceted answer to farmer training in the Four Corners region. One of the few educational farms specializing in high-elevation desert farming, these programs are uniquely positioned to support farmers wishing to work in arid mountain environments. Welcoming everyone from college interns for brief summer experiences to incubator farmers ready to start a business, the Old Fort offers good (and challenging) growing conditions, supportive staff, and diverse resources for high elevation market farming.