Rubicon Foundation was created in 1993 upon the purchase of the Smoke Farm property in Snohomish County. The original goal of the foundation was, and still is, to create an alternative, non-traditional, non-repressive, self-governing community to promote education and cultural creativity. Smoke Farm, previously owned and operated as a dairy by the Smoke family, was chosen as an ideal venue for its natural beauty, facilities, and proximity to urban areas. With this site, Rubicon began pursuing its goal by focusing on different areas: environmental preservation and renewal, art and culture programs, and experiential education.

At the turn of the century, Rubicon focused its work on conservation. Alongside a coalition of environmental organizations and activists, Smoke Farm began an un-farming program: major restoration work in salmon habit and wetland restoration, re-channeling Pentland Creek, our salmon-spawning tributary to the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. Our conservation and restoration partners include Cascade Land Conservancy, Snohomish Conservation District, Snohomish County, Salmon Habitat Restoration Funding Board, and the USDA’s Wetland Reserve Program. These efforts and relationships continue through today.

Simultaneously, Rubicon began developing ties and relationships to the artistic and educational communities of King and Snohomish counties. During the summer programming season, Smoke Farm has been host to myriad creative activities for artists: theater-makers retreats; residencies for dancers, performers, and illustrators; a fundraising cook-off for adventurous chefs; and an annual arts festival. Our educational events have been equally extensive: philosophy camps, workshops and day-trips designed for youth with Aspergers and their families, a week-long summer camp for children, printmaking workshops for high school youth, and community ecology outings. In all our programming, artistic or educational, we seek to bring together diverse groups of people to engage in creativity and free-thinking, harkening to our mission of non-repressive, inclusive, and unique communities.


The Rubicon Foundation is dedicated to:

  • Restoring and protecting habitat and natural diversity and providing environmental education, observation, and appreciation activities at Smoke Farm.
  • The advancement of arts and culture in Washington State.
  • Developing high quality educational programs that stimulate and inspire creativity, self-respect, and the incubation and fostering of ideas.
  • Creating an environment that allows for broad-based community involvement and participation that embodies and promotes cultural, racial and global diversity.

Exploring Pentland Creek

Needs Addressed and Population Served

The Rubicon Foundation is dedicated to giving people time, space, and a supportive community to explore ideas and develop projects that they would not otherwise have the opportunity to do in their daily lives. The expansive and serene physical space of Smoke Farm allows one to quietly reflect, while community will help one build, for instance, a printshop, a philosophy seminar, or a series of run-in-the-fields summer camps. Then, too, the land is part of the learning process as the actual classroom; solitary walks by the river, watching salmon spawn in the creek, mist on the pastures, and working in the garden allow people at Smoke Farm to focus, restore creative energies and reflect in a distraction-free environment.

The balance of diverse, supportive community and quiet reflection makes Smoke Farm an important and unique resource, and through its broad scope of programs (dance, poetry, bio-diversity walks, theater, philosophy camps, festivals…) and its commitment to access, the Foundation continually broadens and reaffirms its varied community. Washingtonians from all different socio-economic backgrounds, experiences, styles, cultures, skills and competencies are welcome at Smoke Farm. Our visitors have included artists from Seattle, philosophers from New York, elementary students from Ethiopian refugee families, biologists from Australia, high school students with Aspergers syndrome. We prize diversity and make extensive outreach efforts to ensure that under-served and low-income neighborhood students may attend educational events.