BFRDP Projects

Growing the Four Corners Training Network for High Desert Farmers
[Progress Report]

Award Amount: $640,143
Grant Program: 2021 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Awards
Project Director: Beth LaShell
Organization: Fort Lewis College- Old Fort at Hesperus


  • Overview
  • Results
  • Materials
  • Delivery Area
  • Comments

Project Overview

The goal of this project is to expand the Four Corners Training Network for High Desert Farmers (FCTN), offering an immersive experience to beginning and aspiring farmers seeking to establish businesses at high elevations or in dry climates/short seasons by providing skills, knowledge connections and continuing education that will lead to business viability and success.
Our objectives are to strengthen the FCTN; impart knowledge to beginning farmers that will enable them to be successful vegetable farmers in growing conditions across the Mountain West; and increase the number of new independent farms in the surrounding area and in communities with similar growing conditions.

The FCTN is creating pathways for beginning farmers to receive more training and start their own businesses in subsequent years through mentoring and regional partner networks in areas with similar growing conditions. The Farmer-in-training (FIT) Program at the Old Fort expanded to include six Summer Short Courses (SSCs), emphasizing practices designed to be successful in high elevation conditions. A Spring Farmer Training Immersion (SFTI) will be offered remotely to program graduates who continue to farm, and other beginning farmers accessing support through the FCTN. As the FCTN, we believe that beginning farmers need multiple years and sources of support to succeed. Project partners will hold a Farmer Training Convergence, and work to develop and support farmers in second-year placements, including incubator programs and land access opportunities.

The expanded FIT program is meeting demand for hands-on farmer training and coursework, and allowing other programs to focus on helping farm businesses get established by developing and delivering all other components of beginning farmer education.

Number of Participants: 344


Promotional Materials

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Educational Materials

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Reports & Evaluations

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Delivery Area

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Individual Stories / Examples of Success