Beth LaShell

Beth LaShell

Old Fort at Hesperus Coordinator

Beth brings many years of experience in agriculture to the Old Fort at Hesperus. After serving as an instructor in the FLC Agriculture and Biology Department for 17 years and a researcher for a Colorado State University Agriculture Experiment Station, she became the Coordinator of the Old Fort at Hesperus in 2010. Her current duties include day to day operations; financial management of cattle, hay and sustainable agriculture enterprises; coordinating FLC and community uses; conducting research projects and identifying new activities for the property.

The Old Fort Market Garden Incubator program began in 2012 as the first one in Colorado. With the assistance of National Incubator Farm Training Initiative (NIFTI), the Old Fort developed a trial incubator program. Because technical assistance was so critical to the early success of our program, Beth offers expertise to regional programs who are interested in duplicating our incubator and farmer training model.

Contact Beth
970-247-7189- Campus office
970-385-4574- Hesperus office
Email Beth

Elicia WhittleseyElicia Whittlesey

Sustainable Agriculture Program Manager

Elicia began her farming journey at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center in California over 10 years ago and has been at the Old Fort since 2015. “I farm because I love the sense of power in doing physical tasks together. In a world where so much work happens digitally, it’s refreshing and important to help people experience the power of their own bodies transforming the ground and coaxing food from the fields. Growing at 7600 feet is challenging, but I love the creativity involved in adjusting the farm plan every year in order to grow as much diverse and delicious food as possible for the community.” Elicia holds a bachelor’s in Environmental Analysis from Pomona College and a master’s in Geography from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Mancos with her daughter and husband, where they let dandelions take over their yard alongside a few apple trees, herbs and flowers.  Email Elicia

Dan Selzer

Dan Selzer

Property caretaker; Cattle and Hay Manager

After graduating from Cortez High School, Dan attended Fort Lewis College where he received an AA in Agriculture. He worked for Colorado State University as a Research Associate until 2010, when he became Fort Lewis College staff. In addition to his duties at the Old Fort at Hesperus, Dan owns a ranch in Mancos where he runs 80 cows.

970-385-4574 - Hesperus office


Sophia Kusumoto-PuryearSophia Kusumoto-Puryear

Education Garden Manager

After graduating from high school in 2014, Sophia took a gap year and found out about WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). She planned to do a work trade on a farm for just a couple months, but she’s been farming ever since! From 2015-2016 Sophia lived and worked on a farm in Cortez immersed in permaculture, market gardening and homesteading. From 2016-2018 she continued learning how to grow food in the southwest by working in the area as a farm hand on established local farms. In 2019, she took part in the Farmer-In-Training program which further confirmed her commitment to small scale agriculture. 2020 is Sophia’s 5th season farming. She is grateful to work under the sun and share the grit and reward of farming.