Viva Farms expands Beginning Farmer Development Program
September 2016: In order to help educate, mentor, and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced its newest awards for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). Viva Farms and its project partners received a $599,999 grant for their project, “Beginning Farmer Development Program (BFDP) Skagit County.”
Viva Farms supports aspiring farmers by providing bilingual training in sustainable organic farming, and access to land, infrastructure, equipment, marketing and capital. They deliver training including: on-farm business incubation, an on-site Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAgE) Student Farm, an accredited land based training program in partnership with Skagit Valley College (SVC), WSU Skagit County Extension (WSU) and through a series of regional workshops. In addition to SVC and WSU, other partners in the BFDP include the Northwest Agriculture Business Center (NABC), Skagitonians to Preserve Farmland (SPF), and Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC), the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), Future Farmers of America (FFA), and the Skagit Land Trust.
Through July 2019, the grant will fund a broad spectrum of activities related to training aspiring farmers, helping them succeed as both farmers and business people. Programs include Viva Farm’s bilingual land-based training and SVC’s SAgE curriculum, in partnership with the SAgE Collaborative, a regional network of community colleges. Additional programs include NABC’s poultry farmer training; business and financial training from EDASC; and a farmland mapping project with SPF, aimed at increasing knowledge and awareness of available farmland for lease or sale in Skagit County. WSU Skagit County Extension provides translation and interpretation services for many of these programs as needed. Additionally, a Farmer-to-Farmer mentor program will be developed to help connect new and experienced farmers, and a Farm-to-School program bringing local organic food to Skagit County school children.
Learn more about Viva Farms, watch Introducing Viva Farms 2016
Burlington, WA 98233