RSF Social Finance Makes a Loan to Viva Farms

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RSF Social Finance Makes a Loan to Viva Farms

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Viva Farms, a farm incubator program in Washington state’s Skagit Valley, receives loan from @RSFSocFinance

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 4:20pm

CONTENT: Press Release

(3BL Media) San Francisco - April 25, 2012 - RSF Social Finance (RSF) is proud to announce a new loan to Viva Farms, a farm incubator program in Washington state’s Skagit Valley. Viva Farms’ mission is to train and support Washington’s next generation of farmers.

The program was launched in 2009 as a collaboration between and Washington State University Extension to provide new farmers bilingual (English/Spanish) education, land, infrastructure, capital, and marketing support. Viva Farms operates a 33 acre farm where aspiring farmers can establish their operations.

Land in the Skagit Valley is rated among the top 2% in the world for agricultural use. Each acre, wisely farmed, can feed as many as one hundred people. Yet only 108,500 of the county’s 1.1 million total acres are farmed today, by an aging population of farmers. The average age of a farmer is approximately 57 years old.

As the region’s farms and farmers vanish, the demand for fresh, local food continues to grow. Eager to meet this growing demand for good, local food are new varieties of farmers. Many are immigrants with extensive agricultural experience and young people from non-farming backgrounds who are pursuing farm careers as a means to embody their values. Viva Farms is dedicated to supporting this new generation.

“Viva Farms is incubating the next generation of sustainable farmers and increasing access to locally grown organic produce,” says Mike Gabriel, RSF Lending Manager. “They are helping reshape our food system to be more diverse, resilient, and supportive of local economies.”

RSF’s loan will help Viva Farms purchase a tractor and other critical farming equipment which will be rented by these farmers to improve farm efficiency and productivity. Produce from these farmers is then sold through Viva Farm’s wholesale and retail distribution business.

"We're excited to be working with a lender who is aligned with our mission of launching a new generation of farmers. RSF Social Finance provides us the capital we need to grow without compromising our values," says Ethan Schaffer, Viva Farms Executive Director.

RSF Social Finance is the lender of choice for values-driven social enterprise in the areas of Food & Agriculture, Education & the Arts, and Ecological Stewardship. Borrowers not only receive financing to meet their capital needs through a close relationship with RSF, each becomes part of a larger community working to transform the way the world works with money. RSF is proud to support Viva Farms and the positive social and environmental impacts they generate.


About RSF Social Finance
Located in San Francisco, CA, RSF Social Finance (RSF) is a non-profit financial services organization dedicated to transforming the way the world works with money. Since 1984, the organization has made over $230 million in loans and $100 million in grants to non-profit and for-profit social enterprises working in the areas of Food & Agriculture, Education & the Arts, and Ecological Stewardship.

RSF's lending capital comes primarily from 1,200 individuals who have invested $1,000 or more in the organization's Social Investment Fund. Investors earn a competitive return on their money comparable to a certificate of deposit while their funds are deployed to leading social enterprises. To learn more, visit

About Viva Farms
Viva Farms was launched in June 2009 to support a new generation of farmers. The Viva Farms Incubator Program provides new farmers with affordable access to education, training and technical assistance, capital and credit, and land and markets. Viva Farms operates a 33 acre farm which is subleased to program participants as they launch their businesses. Viva Farms also provides follow-up support including access to capital for these new farmers as they grow their operations. The program is based in Washington’s fertile Skagit Valley. To learn more, visit


Mike Gabriel

Jillian McCoy, Senior Associate, Communications

Keywords: Ethical Production & Consumption | Agribusiness | Ethical Production & Consumption | Finance & Socially Responsible Investment | RSF Social Finance | Sustainable Food | Volunteerism & Community Engagement | viva farms

CONTENT: Press Release