Team




Viva Farms Staff



Michael Frazier, Executive Director

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.


JR Staton, Produce & Sales Manager

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 1890s.  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.



Mauricio Soto, Farm Manager

Mauricio has farmed his whole life.  Growing coffee, plantains, and avocados during his childhood in Nayarit, Mexico, and later working on farms throughout California, and into Oregon. He landed in the Skagit Valley 14 years ago and launched Buena Berry. Currently, he grows 1.5 acre of raspberries and operates a pruning business.



Kane Hardaker, Americorps VISTA Volunteer

Kane's passion lies in food sovereignty and social justice and it was the methods and message of Viva Farms that brought him to Skagit Valley. Following the goals of the VISTA program Kane is working on building the overall capacity of Viva Farms. When he is not working Kane enjoys exploring the area on foot or on his bike as well as taking in the local music scene.  Kane graduated in May 2016 with degrees in Environmental Science and Regional Planning from Westfield State University.






Board Members:


Bill Palmer
Board President
Owner and CEO Palmer & Associates

Andrew Miller
EDASC Business Retention and Development Director

David Bauermeister
Executive Director, Northwest Agriculture Business Center

Amy Frye
Boldly Grown Farm
Previous Director of UBC Student Farm

Ann Treat
Restaurant Management Professional and Consultant

Steve Brinn

Business Attorney

Don McMoran

Director WSU Skagit Co Extension

José García-Pabón

WSU Latino and Community Studies Outreach Specialist


Advisors:


Terry Belcoe
President and CEO, North Coast Credit Union

Kevin Morse
Principal and Owner, Morse Consulting and Morse Family Farms

Jason Neibler
Director and Founder, SAgE Collaborative, Sustainable Agriculture Education


Founders:

Don McMoran
Steve Brinn
Sarita Schaffer
Ethan Schaffer