The Old Fort
Fort Lewis College projects conducted at the Old Fort at Hesperus include small acreage studies in season extension, food safety, organic weed control in market gardens, hoop house production, and a hops variety trial . Additionally, the College runs a 120 cows that are used for high elevation studies, range-grazing, and grass-fed beef production. It utilizes its water rights to maintain 250 acres of hay production.
Our Sustainable Agriculture program offers internship opportunities in the 1/2 acre Education Garden from May through October to 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 into the summer.
Farmer in Training program is for those who want more experience before starting their own business or getting a farm job, farmers-in-training (FITs) work 2-3 days per week, both in the Education Garden and co-managing a 1-acre plot in the Incubator Field from May through October. Lastly, the Market Garden Incubator program is 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 6.5 acres, running independent businesses and sharing infrastructure and knowledge.
The 6,300 acre property is at elevation of 7600 feet and receives 18.5 inches of precipitation annually. Crop varieties adapted to the 100-day frost free growing season are limited to small grains, forage and hay crops