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The Old Fort at Hesperus is a beautiful 6,000+ acre site managed by Fort Lewis College that is located just 16 miles from campus. The Old Fort offers several programs to learn more about sustainable agriculture. There are summer internships in sustainable agriculture that fulfill requirements in Environmental Studies, Public Health, Sociology, Biology, and other fields. The Old Fort Market Garden Incubator Program is for aspiring farmers and provides educational classes along with access to land, water, and infrastructure. Incubator participants run independent businesses and cooperate with each other to produce a variety of foods at 7,600 feet. Finally, the Farmer-In-Training Program is a stepping stone between the internship and incubator, for people who want to farm but who need more experience.
The Bee Club is a registered student organization designed to give students the opportunity to learn and practice beekeeping. We currently have five honey bee hives located on campus, and club members have ample opportunity to work hands on with the bees. Beekeeping is an important and quickly growing form of urban agriculture that promotes healthy hives, healthy gardens, and healthy lives. The main goal of the Bee Club is to educate students on the importance of honey bees to our food system, as well as inspire students to become bee activists and beekeepers. For more information, contact Dr. Becky Clausen's email.
Fort Lewis College diverts tens of thousands of pounds of food waste each year from the dining hall and turns it into nutrient-rich garden soil. Our state-of-the-art in-vessel composter, called the Rocket, is key to the process, as is the compost-finishing shed, designed and built by students from the Physics and Engineering departments.
Students can learn about local food systems right on campus in the Eco-Demonstration Garden. This garden gives students the chance to learn sustainable gardening practices and gain hands on experience growing their own food. Students can also complete coursework in the garden through the Environmental Studies Ecological Agriculture course. Get involved with the garden by contacting the Environmental Center.
The Grub Hub is a student-led food pantry, operating on the Fort Lewis College campus, dedicated to social justice and destigmatizing food insecurity. The Grub Hub distributes recovered and donated food items to students, by students.
Just 16 miles from Fort Lewis College are the Old Fort Market Gardens. Located on the original site of Fort Lewis, they provide an amazing opportunity to grow and learn about local food. Everything from arugula to zucchini is grown, and there are even two 90’ hoop houses that enable farmers to grow greens right through the winter. A historic orchard, dating back to the 1900s, provides local apples. Grass fed cattle are raised at the Old Fort without antibiotics or growth promoters. Interns, farmers-in-training, and experienced farmers grow everything on site, providing the campus dining hall with thousands of pounds of produce and humanely-raised meat every year. Food is available for purchase from the Farm Stand and CSA program.
Durango is known for its delicious apples, showcased every year at the Apple Days festival. Fort Lewis maintains its own fruit collection in an on-campus orchard with a variety of organically-managed trees. This space is currently undergoing a transformation to a permaculture-style food forest. Get involved with the orchard/food forest through the Environmental Center’s Local Food Security Initiatives.
Eat well and support ecologically-sound, locally-grown, fairly-produced, and humanely-raised food in the college dining hall. Fort Lewis College is a signatory to the national Real Food Challenge, committing to spend at least 20% of the school's food budget, nearly $320,000 annually, on real food.
Keep disposable to-go containers out of the landfill with the easy and hygienic reusable container system. Pick up your reusable container at the dining hall or any of the food kiosks in the Student Union. Fill your container with delicious to-go food; when you are done with your container, return it at any campus dining location and receive a token that gets you a CLEAN to-go container the next time you eat on campus. There is a one-time fee of $4 for your first container.