Farm Business Incubator

Build a Successful Farm Business

The incubator farm model provides aspiring farmers the necessary resources and support to build viable, independent and successful farm businesses. Viva Farms operates a Farm Business Incubator at both our Skagit and King County locations. In Skagit, we offer our support bilingually in Spanish and English. Starting a farm business can be daunting with many barriers, for both experienced farmworkers and new growers alike. We are proud to further our mission of empowering aspiring and limited-resource farmers by lowering these barriers via the Farm Business Incubator. 

We offer incubating farmers access to the farming Essentials. Based on our experience as an organization, amongst our staff and following feedback from participants, we have identified these essentials as: land & capital, training, infrastructure & equipment, marketing, and community. 

Land: Organic farmland is disappearing from coast to coast. Viva Farms owns or leases just over 100 acres of land between our Skagit & King County locations. Incubator Farms have access to certified organic parcels, which vary greatly from a quarter acre to 5 acres. The aspiring farmer’s business proposal and annual availability determines plot size. Most beginning farms at Viva operate on plots from a quarter acre to two acres. In Skagit, we are also able to support farmers operating in an Agricultural Park (“AgPark”). The AgPark offers medium-term land tenure where farmers can scale their farm business on larger plots and over many years, ahead of launching onto a permanent off-site land base

Capital: We offer Incubator Farms technical assistance with grant applications, business finances, and have a revolving loan fund available. Viva Farms is actively working to grow capital access for farmers in our program. 

Training: In addition to our workshops and relationships with many regional partners, we support our farmers with technical assistance on everything from irrigation to food safety to market support and more. 

Infrastructure & Equipment: Each Viva Farms location is equipped with irrigation, greenhouses and high tunnels, a GAP-certified wash/pack facility, and farm implements such as tractors. Access to these materials is included in the Incubator Farmer lease. 

Marketing:  Viva provides sales outlets for farmers’ products by selling, aggregating and distributing through our Wholesale channels. Incubator Farmers can also sell produce to Viva Farms for our direct to consumer channel, the seasonal CSA, available for purchase in King, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties. As Incubator Farmers grow their businesses, many develop their own unique sales channels alongside Viva’s programs.  

Community: Finally, operating a farm business within the Incubator fosters community support as farmers grow side by side. This proximity and shared experience allows farmers to collaborate on investments like bulk purchasing of seed, trade work hours, and simply support each other through the challenges of growing organic food in a way that is sustainable both for the land and the people. 

Despite all the support offered by Viva Farms, incubating farms are operating independent farm businesses and are responsible for all elements of their business, including employees, insurance, certifications and more. Some attendance and participation in Viva Farms programs is expected. 

Who is Eligible to Join the Incubator?

Graduates of the Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture are eligible to apply for Incubator space on the farm. In some unique cases, if a farmer is able to show competence in operating an independent farm business, an application may be considered for the Incubator without a certificate from the Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture. If you think you are eligible, please reach out to [email protected] or call 360-969-7191 x2. Note that due to resource constraints, access to the Farm Business Incubator following the Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture is not guaranteed. 

To learn more about Viva Farms programming, we encourage you to attend an upcoming Event and follow us on Instagram or Facebook to get an idea of what we and incubating farms are up to!

If the Farm Business Incubator does not meet your needs, please check out the Begin to Farm Network page for more information on support available to beginning farmers throughout Western Washington.  

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