WASHINGTON AG NETWORK – KEVIN ROUNCE
Viva Farms near Mount Vernon is helping train the next generation of farmers using the incubator idea that is popular in the tech world.
Executive Director Michael Frazier said it’s part of a program with Skagit Valley College and that as students go through the school they get the opportunity to lease a portion of land to learn and grow a business.
“We also have the infrastructure so we have greenhouses, high tunnels, washpack stations, walk-in refrigeration, a barn and irrigation to the different plots.”
The program was modeled after similar ideas in California and other parts around the country.
Frazier said the land is leased for one year per farmer and that they are always working with each person to teach them best methods.
“And then they can build their marketshare and scale appropriately at a pace that’s sustainable and reach a scale where they can launch [their business] at some point after having gained that knowledge, after having built their markets.”
Frazier said even with all the training finding land to farm can be a challenge with water, organic and other regulations, but most people who work with them come away feeling rewarded by the experience.
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