The Old Fort at Hesperus is a growing and multi-faceted answer to farmer training in the Four Corners region. 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, a lively farming community, and rich resources for high elevation market farming.
The Education Garden is a half-acre production and demonstration garden devoted to giving Fort Lewis interns an introduction to small-scale sustainable farming. Interns receive a well-rounded sampling of the work that goes in to small-scale agriculture, from helping with bed preparation and planting early in the season, to harvesting, weeding, and marketing. Intern and work-study applicants are accepted year-round.
For those who want more experience before starting their own business or getting a farm job, farmers-in-training (FITs) work 4 days per week, both in the Education Garden and co-managing a 1-acre plot in the Incubator Field from May through September. Program information and applications are updated in November, with applications typically due in January for the following growing season.
For beginning farmers ready to take the next step toward operating a farm, this program provides educational classes, access to land, water, infrastructure, and training. New farmers start with 1/16 to 1/8 acre plots. Program information, site guidelines, and applications are updated in November, with applications typically due in December for the following growing season.
For more information, email Program Manager Elicia Whittlesey.