Staff & Board

The Dedicated Team

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 has over 15 years working at the intersection of sustainable agriculture, farm business management and social advocacy. Prior to Viva Farms, he worked as a manager of Happy Boy Farms, a 400-acre, certified organic farm in California’s central coast.  As Viva Farms’ Operations and Incubator Director, Rob oversees design and implementation of Viva Farms’ programs, including bilingual curriculum development and training programs, and works with directly with farmers and staff to ensure incubating farm business success and the fulfillment of Viva Farms’ mission. He is also a certified Lead Trainer with the Produce Safety Alliance and has instructed courses around within the region and internationally. Rob holds a BA in Politics and Latin American studies from UC Santa Cruz.

Anna Chotzen

Business & Marketing Manager

Anna has 10 years of experience working domestically and internationally as an advocate for small-scale farmers and champion of sustainable and equitable food systems. Before coming to Viva Farms, she managed the local foods program at the International Rescue Committee, a refugee resettlement agency in Phoenix, AZ. As Viva Farms’ Business & Marketing Manager, she oversees the sales and marketing programs, as well as the development and implementation of Viva’s business training program. She holds a B.A. in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Andrew Christian Ely

Viva Farms King County, Farm and Education Manager

Andrew brings 5 years of urban agriculture experience to Viva Farms King County. As a passionate seed saver and naturalist he emphasizes diversity to create and maintain healthy resilient systems. He has over 10 years of experience as an educator working with diverse communities of all ages. As the Farm and Education Manager at Viva Farms King County in the Sammamish Valley APD, Andrew empowers others to care for soil, promote biodiversity, and grow good food. When “off-the-clock,” he is exploring the Pacific Northwest in search of wild foods or cooking a meal to share. He earned a Bachelor of Science in biology with emphasis on evolution, ecology and biodiversity at Western Washington University.

Steve Crider

Farm-to-School Lead

Steve Crider has spent his professional working life in the organic food and agriculture movement. Steve is deeply committed to collaborating with others to create a more sustainable and just food system. Prior to joining Viva Farms, his work includes time with Amy’s Kitchen, Cascadian Farm and CF Fresh (Viva Tierra). For the past four years he has served on the Board of Directors of Oregon Tilth until stepping down in June 2018. Steve set off for Japan in 1983 to meet Masanobu Fukuoka, author of One Straw Revolution and eventually spent nine years there where he helped found the organic food import company, Taneyama ga Hara, Ltd. On the local front here in Skagit County, Steve has volunteered with the Burlington-Edison School system, and served on the Boards of Directors for Neighbors in Need Foodbank, META Performing Arts and Burlington Little School. Steve was the 2012 recipient of the annual “The Flash of Silver” Award for local food security endeavors.

Martin Burwash

Farm Manager

I am a life long farmer starting out at a young age dairy farming. I attended Washington State University where I studied Dairy Science then went to work as a herdsman and eventually owning my own diary. In the 1990’s I finally moved off farm and went to work full time at Conway Feed, a job I still hold. At that time I began crop farming nights after work and week-ends raising freezer peas, cucumbers, broccoli, strawberries and grain.  These days my farming efforts have been reduced down to raising pickling cucumbers for a local processor. I am married. We have two sons and five grand children.

Katherine Myrvold

Marketing and Education Assistant

Katherine’s background is in multilingual education, sustainable agriculture, and non-profit program coordination. She has over a decade of experience teaching English & Spanish in public schools and as a private tutor in California & Spain. She became interested in sustainable agriculture in 2011, as a home gardener and then eventually as a full-time farmer. In her role as Marketing & Education Assistant at Viva Farms, Katherine works with student farmers in the Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture. She also works with wholesale produce sales. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Gender Studies and minors in Spanish and French.