The program’s mission is “To offer an alternative point of entry for beginning farmers in the Four Corners region, providing them with access to support services that enable them to develop the skills necessary to succeed.”
For those who are ready to take the next step toward your goal of operating a farm in Southwest Colorado, this program provides educational classes, access to land, water, infrastructure (irrigation, harvest sheds, cooler and root cellar), and marketing assistance. Incubator farmers work together on 4.5 acres, running independent businesses and sharing infrastructure and knowledge. New farmers start with 1/16 to 1/8 acre plots.
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 and knowledgeable staff, a lively farming community, and rich resources for high elevation market farming.
Each growing season, the Old Fort welcomes 2-4 new incubator farmers. Applications are due in December, classes start in February, and field work days in late April. Farmers have access to the field from May 1 until October 1.
Aspiring farmers with little experience should also consider applying to the FIT program.
Since 2011, over a dozen farmers have graduated from the program, continuing with their own businesses or in other jobs related to food and farming.
For more information or current applications, email Beth LaShell or call 970-385-4574.