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 in the “incubator field,” running independent businesses and sharing infrastructure and knowledge. Incubator farmers start with 1/16 to 1/8-acre plots in their first year.
The program’s mission 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. Since 2011, the program has graduated over a dozen farmers who have continued with their own businesses or in other jobs related to food and farming.
This program is designed for people who have a strong background in farming, especially in similar growing conditions; work well alone or with their business partner; and are self-motivated and willing to take initiative. Successful incubators aim to start a farm business that will take root in the Four Corners region or beyond while learning independently in a supportive setting. Aspiring farmers with little experience should also consider applying to the FIT program.
Each growing season, the Old Fort welcomes 1-4 new incubator farms. Applications are due in December, classes start in February, and onsite work days begin in late April. Farmers have access to the field from May 1 until October 1.
Incubator Program Application - NEW Incubator Program Application - RETURNING
For more information or current applications, email Beth LaShell or call 970-385-4574.
For 1-2 incubators/year who identify as Native American, a grant from the NAAF allows us to distribute a housing stipend of $2,000 per summer, and pays 50% of the field fee, and 75% of the land access fee in year 1 (50% in year 2).