Viva Farms

Viva Farms is accepting applications for its practicum in sustainable agriculture.

Viva Farms is accepting applications for its 2022 practicum in sustainable agriculture.

The eight-month course will begin in early April and end about Thanksgiving, spanning three academic quarters and one farming season.

Viva Farms is a nonprofit that provides resources to make farming more accessible to beginning farmers.

“Basically we’re trying to lower the barriers to entry for people who want to be farm owners,” said Katherine Myrvold, sales and education manager at Viva Farms.

The course will be offered in English and Spanish.

Students will attend lectures from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays at the practicum farm on Higgins Airport Way west of Burlington. Due to the COVID-10 pandemic, portions of the course may be held over Zoom, according to Viva’s website.

In addition, students need to spend four hours a week putting the skills they learned in the class to work on the practicum farm. The timing of the independent work on the farm is flexible to accommodate students’ schedules.

The practicum farm is a working farm that sells the produce grown to supplement funding Viva receives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Myrvold said.

Taught in the spring quarter will be early-season production such as propagating seeds and planting.

Summer quarter topics will include harvesting techniques, sales, post-harvest procedures and food safety. And the fall quarter will focus on the business management aspect of farming including budgeting and farm taxes, Myrvold said.

Upon completion of the course, students will receive a certification in sustainable agriculture and become eligible to apply for Viva’s farm incubator program.

The farm incubator program helps beginning farmers start their businesses by providing them with land, equipment, infrastructure, and sales and marketing advice, Myrvold said.

All of the land that Viva leases to incubator farmers is certified organic, with farmers usually starting out on a small plot ranging from a quarter acre to one acre.

“Over time the goal is for them to become robust businesses that are able to support themselves and stand on their own,” Myrvold said.

Applications for the practicum are available on the Viva Farms website. They are available in English and Spanish.

Cost for the program is $1,200. Viva Farms provides partial and full scholarships, as well as payment plans for students on a need basis, according to the Viva Farms website.

The deadline to apply is Feb. 21. Applications can be sent to practicum@vivafarms.org.

Reporter Maddie Smith 360-416-2139, msmith@skagitpublishing.com

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