Staff & Board

Meet the Team!

Staff

Micah Anderson

Farm and Education Manager, Viva Farms King County

Micah has spent the past 15 years bridging and strengthening diverse communities through programs that foster a love for growing and sharing good food. Serving first in the United States Peace Corps and later in the nonprofit world nationally and internationally, Micah has supported farmers in Zambia, Papua New Guinea and rural Japan, in addition to designing and facilitating organic farm training programs in King County as Education Manager at Seattle Tilth Farm Works and adjunct faculty at Highline Community College. Micah joined the team at Viva Farms in 2019 and continues to encourage and empower new generations of farmers who aspire to enrich the soil and their local farming community. Micah holds an B.A. in Forestry with a minor in Agriculture from the University of Kentucky and an M.A. in Environment & Community from Antioch University Seattle. When not farming, he enjoys time with his family, football (the beautiful game), fermentation, and frailing on his ol’ banjo.   

Elma Burnham

Communications Manager

Elma (she/her) joined Viva Farms as Communications Manager during the summer of 2023. Prior to joining the team, Elma balanced a varied career in food – from many commercial salmon seasons in Bristol Bay to, most recently, selling Washington-grown wheat flour at Cairnspring Mills. Elma is also passionate about community organizing; she founded the organization Strength of the Tides, which supports, celebrates, and empowers women, nonbinary and trans people on the water. Elma joined Viva Farms in 2023 and strategically supports the organization’s communications to increase engagement of future farmers, supporters and partners. Living in Washington since 2015, Elma grew up on the water in southern New England and is lucky enough to have spent time in Vermont, Alaska, Martinique and Cameroon. She holds a B.A. in French from Middlebury College with additional focuses in Elementary Education and African-American Studies. Locally, she has served as a member of the Whatcom Food Network and Whatcom Marine Resources Committee and DJ’d on KZAX 94.9 LPFM. Elma feels most herself driving a boat, alone on a trail or lingering at a full dinner table long after dessert.

Martin Burwash

Special Ops, Viva Farms Skagit County

Martin is a lifelong farmer, having started out at a young age dairy farming. He studied Dairy Science at Washington State University then went to work as a herdsman and eventually owned his own dairy. In the 1990’s, Martin moved off farm and went to work full time at Conway Feed, a local animal feed manufacturer. At that time, he began crop farming after work at night and on weekends raising freezer peas, cucumbers, broccoli, strawberries and grain. He has been crop farming in one way or another ever since, joining the team at Viva in 2016. Martin is married with two sons and five grandchildren. While “practicing retirement” in 2024, Martin continues to support farm maintenance and growers at our Skagit County location. 

Anna Chotzen

Director of Farm Viability

Anna (she/her) is unapologetically optimistic and tirelessly committed to affecting bold systemic change for farmers and agriculture. She has been with Viva Farms since 2017 and has over 10 years of experience supporting beginning and immigrant farmers to build viable businesses. Anna leads the organization’s land access, capital access and business management programs. She works closely with capital providers across the impact finance space to design innovative, accessible capital programs, collaborates with land access partners to solve land tenure barriers for next generation farmers, and leads the business management and financial literacy components of Viva’s Education Program. Prior to Viva Farms, she worked with refugee farmers at the International Rescue Committee’s Phoenix office. She holds a B.A. in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is fluent in Spanish and French. 

Outside of the office and off the farm, Anna can be found up in the mountains, on the salsa dance floor, or around a big dinner table with friends.

Robin Crandall

Farm Manager, Viva Farms Skagit County

With a decade of hands-on experience on organic farms in the Pacific Northwest, Robin brings a wealth of knowledge and a passion for sustainable agriculture to Viva Farms. Before joining the team at Viva Farms in 2024, Robin managed her own farm for four years. She possesses a deep understanding of the innumerable details involved in maintaining thriving agricultural operations. As Farm Manager, Robin supports incubating farmers with day-to-day operations and keeps the farm infrastructure up and running. Her dedication to education extends beyond the fields; she is generous with her expertise on topics ranging from seed propagation to the art of blending herbal teas. Beyond her farm experience, Robin studied Food System Resilience at Western Washington University, combining practical knowledge with academic insights. When not immersed in the rhythms of farm life, Robin finds solace in the majestic beauty of the North Cascades.

Adele_Farm to School

Adele Eslinger

Farm to School Coordinator

Adele’s earliest food memory is the smell and sound of plump blueberries falling into buckets and (more often than not) into her mouth at her grandparents’ farm in Kent, WA. Decades later, those early experiences continue to inform her belief in creating opportunities for youth to feel positively connected to the food they eat. At Viva Farms since 2024, Adele coordinates efforts to integrate local produce in school meals and increase school-based agricultural education. Her path to food systems work wound through a BA in Linguistics and Spanish from Pomona and Claremont McKenna Colleges, an MA in Human Rights from the University of Vienna, and years abroad in Peru and Austria. In her non-Viva time, Adele finds any excuse she can to speak in another language, get lost in the woods, eat food with friends, or follow her cats around in the yard.

Bonnie Feldberg

Farm and Education Assistant, Viva Farms King County

Bonnie (she/they) is passionate about food systems and cultural and environmental sustainability, which began while gardening with her mom growing up and led her to study agroecology and sustainable food systems, as well as environmental justice, at UC Santa Cruz. She has spent her professional life working at local farmers markets, plant nurseries, and in organic certification at California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). She initially got involved at Viva Farms as a student in the Practicum for Sustainable Agriculture in 2022, and was hired as staff midway through the season. She uses her experience in the program to help ground her work as Farm and Education Assistant – now helping teach the Practicum and expand opportunities, resources, and community for our students and farmers. Outside of farming, Bonnie enjoys cooking, reading, dancing, spending time with friends, and playing the occasional soccer game.

Michael Frazier

Executive Director

Michael Frazier has over 25 years’ experience leading business development efforts in nonprofit, for profit and public arenas. Throughout his career, he has developed many passionate and successful teams, while directly serving veterans and Latino farmers and farmworkers. He is a Marine Corps Veteran and holds a BA in Nutrition and Health Sciences from Bastyr University. Michael has over 10 years of retail/customer service experience; as Director of Sales Operations at Super Supplements, he managed over 340 employees across three states. While serving as Director, the Helping Hands Food Bank provided over 1.2M pounds of food to over 14,000 community members annually. Michael joined Viva Farms as Executive Director in 2015 and has grown the organization from just 3 staff members to the group of 12+ we are today. Under his leadership, Viva Farms developed and launched the Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture, secured long-term land tenure on over 100 acres and hosts over 30 incubating farms annually. When not at Viva Farms, Michael can be found enjoying the outdoors with his kids, playing a fierce game of tennis and supporting food access efforts across the region. 

Lorenzo Garcia-Hernandez

Farm Assistant, Viva Farms Skagit County

Lorenzo has been a valuable member of our team since 2021. Originally from Jalisco, Mexico, Lorenzo initially started as a driver before lending his skills to support our small infrastructure projects on the farm. Six months later, Lorenzo transitioned to a full-time role as our Farm Assistant, where he brings great enthusiasm and experience to maintaining infrastructure around the farm – everything from greenhouses to the offices. Lorenzo previously drove for Bellingham Cold Storage for several years and brings not only experience but a great attitude of kindness to the farm. Outside of work, Lorenzo enjoys spending time at home, where he cultivates grapes, raspberries, and a towering banana plant at the entrance. His passion for farming extends beyond the workplace and is rooted in his family’s ranching experience in Jalisco. 

Danielle Halstead

Development Manager

Danielle (she/her) has over twenty-two years of experience in the natural foods industry and grocery retail. She spent thirteen years working with New Seasons Market in Portland, Oregon where was named the Store Manager of the Year for her progressive leadership and financial performance. As Regional Operations Director at New Seasons, she led a region of 1100 staff with $80M in annual sales. In her role as Development Manager since 2019, Danielle leads Viva Farms’ fundraising efforts – from USDA grants to private foundation and individual donor relationships to events. Danielle secures and administers over $1.5M in federal and private funding each year to help us realize our mission. She is a graduate of the Western Culinary Institute. She is a lover of food and a passionate world traveler, having spent time as a chef in Chile, working on organic farms in Europe, and visiting over 30 countries.

 

Liz Kerl

Development & Communications Assistant

Liz’s development and communications experience comes from her native Colombia, where she worked as a Communication Strategist Analyst in service to vulnerable communities in Medellin. She is thrilled to be able to use her native language in the fulfillment of Viva’s bilingual programs since joining the team in 2023. From crafting visual marketing materials and engaging social media graphics, Liz’s graphic design has elevated Viva Farms’ brand presence and effectively communicated its mission. Eager to deepen her understanding of sustainable agriculture and immerse herself in the farming community, Liz made the bold decision to join the Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture (PSA) program in 2024. Through her participation in the PSA, Liz is gaining experience in organic farming techniques, crop management, and farm operations, enriching her perspective as a designer and enabling her to create even more impactful visual content tailored to the unique needs of Viva Farms and its community. In her free time, she loves to read, travel, enjoy time with her family and friends, enjoy good music, and savor delicious cuisine. She lived in Brooklyn, New York and Sacramento, California before moving to Washington last year, and now calls Lake Samish her home.

Valeria Kusilek

Sales & CSA Coordinator

Hailing from Lima, Peru, Valeria earned her bachelor’s degree in Global Marketing and Commercial Administration from Universidad Ricardo Palma. While pursuing her education, Valeria spent her summers in Montana through a work and travel exchange program. There, she fell in love with the landscape and her now husband. As Sales & CSA Coordinator since 2022, Valeria supports the wholesale program and manages the CSA program. Working alongside farmers is her favorite part of her work. Of all the crops grown on the farm, garlic is her favorite. Off farm, it is passion fruit which reminds her of home. In her off time, Valeria enjoys biking, traveling, trying new foods, and finding new drama shows to binge.

Edu Mgr Viva Farms<br />

Katherine Myrvold

Sales & Education Manager

Katherine’s (she/her) background is in multilingual education, sustainable agriculture, and non-profit program management. She has taught English & Spanish in public schools and as a private tutor in both the U.S. & Spain, and has been involved in sustainable agriculture in different ways over many years as everything from a home gardener to a mixed vegetable row crop farmer. Katherine joined the team at Viva in 2018. In her role as Sales & Education Manager at Viva Farms, Katherine co-teaches the Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture. She also manages the growth and development of our direct sales and wholesale operations in support of the overall mission of the organization, working closely with the beginning farmers in our programs Katherine has been serving as a Board Member at the Puget Sound Food Hub since 2020. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Gender Studies and minors in Spanish and French. When she is not at Viva, Katherine can be found with her nose in a book.

Tim Orsino

Business Administrator

Originally from San Diego, California, Tim earned his master’s degree in Education at the University of Iowa and began his teaching career on the White Mountain Apache reservation in Arizona. Eventually, Tim moved to Whidbey Island to teach middle schoolers for the Oak Harbor School District. Shifting his career away from education, he worked in both the private and public sectors, including the Town of Coupeville and the City of Ferndale, until joining the team in 2023. At Viva Farms, he assists with bookkeeping, human resources, and grant management. Off the farm, he enjoys quiet, calm strolls through nature as well as loud, raucous electronic music shows, listening to what his favorite DJ San Holo calls “existential dance music.”

Juliana Ruiz

Sales & CSA Coordinator

Juliana joined us at Viva Farms in the summer of 2024, after moving to Oak Harbor in late 2023 from south central Texas. Juliana has spent the last four years supporting essential elements of the food system, primarily restaurants and farmers markets with everything from data analysis, project management and marketing. In those roles she worked closely with farmers and is now excited to get to know the passions and produce of the farmers at Viva Farms. A Latina with family roots in Coahuila, MX, she previously worked with Latin American unaccompanied minors, assisting them with family and sponsor reunion on the Southern border. Juliana has a degree in Latin American Studies and Business Administration from the University of Texas, where her studies also took her to Brazil and Mexico. Away from the office, find Juliana exploring her new home of the Pacific Northwest and chasing down food as good as her mom’s amazing cooking skills. Ask her about her traveling adventures and getting a CDL “just for fun.” 

Malachi Simpson

CSA Assistant & Delivery Driver

Bio coming soon! 

Rob Smith

Director of Programs & Operations

Rob has over 15 years of experience working at the intersection of sustainable agriculture, farm business management and social advocacy. Prior to joining Viva Farms in 2014, he worked as a manager of Happy Boy Farms, a 400-acre, certified organic farm in California’s central coast.  As Director of Programs and Operations, Rob oversees the design and implementation of Viva Farms’ programs, including bilingual curriculum development and training programs, while co-teaching the Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture in Skagit each year. He works directly with both farmers and staff to ensure incubating farm businesses’ success and the fulfillment of Viva Farms’ mission. He is one of the few Spanish-speaking Certified Lead Trainers with the Produce Safety Alliance in the region and has instructed courses locally and internationally. Rob holds a BA in Politics and Latin American studies from UC Santa Cruz, and additionally serves as Adjunct Faculty, Environmental Sustainable Agriculture Department at Skagit Valley College and on the Board of Trustees at the Skagit Valley Food Co-Op. Off farm, Rob enjoys time with his family biking, music-making, sailing, skiing, and exploring the North Cascades.

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