Viva Farms Staff
Michael Frazier has over 20 years’ experience leading business development in non-profit, for profit and public arenas. Previously, as the Director of Helping Hands Food Bank, Michael worked supporting socially disadvantaged populations in the Skagit Valley, including Latino farm-workers by purchasing fresh produce, and distributing food assistance on a weekly basis. As Executive Director of Viva Farms, he brings his knowledge and experience to help bridge the gap between socially disadvantaged food producers and economic development and local food security, by working directly with community partners to grow successful farm businesses.
Rob Smith, Operations and Incubator Director
Rob's 9 years as a manager of Happy Boy Farms, a 400-acre Certified Organic farm in California's Central Coast, make him an invaluable asset to Viva Farms and the Skagit Valley. As Viva Farms' Operations and Incubator Director, Rob wears many hats and is responsible for design and implementation of Viva Farms' program delivery and general farm operations, including bilingual curriculum development and Viva's training program. Rob stays busy off the farm by exploring the region by foot, bike, ski and boat, and playing guitar as a founding member in the local band, Conway West. He holds a BA in Politics and Latin American Studies from UC Santa Cruz.
Beth Meenaghan, Development and Communications Manager
Beth spent 18 years in engineering, computer programming and network administration, but it was spending time on her grandfather’s dairy farm while growing up in North Carolina that sparked a desire to farm that never died. Beginning in early 2013, she and her husband, Kevin, have farmed a half acre of market vegetables for farmer’s markets and wholesale distribution. As the Development and Communications Manager at Viva Farms, Beth applies years of project management experience to further the mission and vision of Viva Farms, by pursuing grants and other fundraising opportunities, as well as communicating our value to the local community.
J.R. was transplanted to the Pacific Northwest from Ohio over 10 years ago, after a 20-year career working in the automotive industry. His love for farming began as a child on his grandmother’s 100 acre farm in eastern Kentucky, which had been farmed sustainably since the 1890's. His latest passions are in organic agriculture, creating new systems and techniques for successful farm operation. He has fast become an asset to Viva Farms in areas of building new wholesale channels, farm stand management, and food safety certification. He holds an associate’s degree in Sustainable Agriculture from Skagit Valley College, and is working toward a B.A and plans to pursue a Master’s Degree. J.R also teaches at Skagit Valley College and co-owns Mountain Valley Mini Farms, a small micro-greens business, with his wife Alicia and enjoys spending time with his family and playing music.
Amber is our Skagit Valley native on the team. Having grown up in a rural setting with lots of “ranch chores” she has a great appreciation for the hard work and dedication of our farmers and ranchers. A few of her past jobs include rouging spinach, operating heavy machinery for a logging outfit, and working in the grocery business. She recently returned to the majestic Pacific Northwest after a long hiatus living in Southern California and France during her former career in the Outdoor Apparel Industry. She has a BA from Antioch University Seattle with a double concentration in Leadership & Sustainable Business and Urban Ecology. Amber’s love of high quality food, culture, and nature are evident in her pastimes of hiking, gardening, sailing, food preservation, traveling, and Spanish studies. Her passion for Sustainable Agriculture and support of resilient local economies serve Amber well in her position at Viva Farms while she develops a Farm-to-School program and helps facilitate community events.
Owner and CEO Palmer & Associates
EDASC Business Retention and Development Director
Executive Director, Northwest Agriculture Business Center
Boldly Grown Farm
Previous Director of UBC Student Farm
Restaurant Management Professional and Consultant
Director WSU Skagit Co Extension
WSU Latino and Community Studies Outreach Specialist
High Mowing Seeds
President and CEO, North Coast Credit Union
Principal and Owner, Morse Consulting and Morse Family Farms
Director and Founder, SAgE Collaborative, Sustainable Agriculture Education